During this plenary Susan Eirich, Rutendo Ngara and Sunil Chauhan will share their wisdom, experience and insights around the following questions:
Presenters: Susan Eirich, Rutendo Ngara, Sunil Chauhan
Known as a pioneering conservationist, Dr. Susan B. Eirich is a licensed psychologist, biologist, writer, and “practical visionary.” She blends insights from nature and human psychology into a new way of understanding our relationship to our Earth and all living beings. She founded Earthfire Institute Wildlife Sanctuary & Retreat Center in 1999 to serve as a global model for wildlife and land preservation. Her message focuses on actionable ways to heal our relationship to nature and ourselves.
Susan created the Reconnection Ecology model, which gives us the opportunity to form a deep connection with individual rescued animals and their unique stories, leading to our own reconnection with all that is wild—including ourselves. Through deep reconnection, we discover new ways of approaching the ecological crises that now confront us.
A sought-after speaker internationally, Susan has taught at universities worldwide. She has worked in supermaximum prisons and lived in far corners of the Earth as a way to enhance understanding between cultures, peoples, and species.
Rutendo Ngara is an African Indigenous Knowledge Systems practitioner and transdisciplinary researcher from Southern Africa, whose professional interests have spanned from clinical engineering, healthcare technology management, socio-economic development, mathematics, leadership and fashion design; to the interface between science, culture, cosmology and paradigms of healing.
She is a Co-Founder of Ancient Wisdom Africa, a forum that seeks to gather knowledges and voices of Ancient Wisdom and see how these can illuminate the present; Chairperson of the Credo Mutwa Foundation – non-profit organisation aimed at decoding and promoting the multi- dimensional works of African polymath Credo Mutwa; founding member of the Assegaia Alliance – a cross-cultural and interdisciplinary group of experts dedicated to the protection of the Earth’s Sacred Natural Sites; and the Earthrise Collective – an international convening bringing together Ancient Wisdom, Activism and Alternatives.
She serves on a number of boards, advisory and convening committees, including Ancient Wisdom Foundation, the Indigenous Knowledge Systems for Heritage Animals Council, and Umphakatsi Peace Ecovillage. She has served as an Executive Board Member and Development Officer of the South African Wushu Federation, as well as the President of the Gauteng Provincial Wushu Federation. In these roles she put in place a national Wushu Development Programme, which aimed not only to develop the sport in disadvantaged communities, but to provide practical self- defence and conflict-resolution training to women and youth in response to the high levels of violence in the country.
She weaves tapestries through multiple epistemologies. The quest for harmony, co-existence and complimentarity underpins her endeavours.
Sunil Chauhan is a wandering mountain man whose heart and spirit lies in nature. He travels the length and breadth of the Himalayas deepening his relationship with nature as well as engaging in dialogue with communities to bring meaningful social change using various tools including nature based spirituality.
He has been part of setting up various social enterprises and initiatives over the last 2 decades in various Himalayan states. He has worked on a multitude of issues ranging from energy efficiency, sustainable livelihoods, enterprise development, palliative care, mental health, environmental issues, climate change, mysticism and eco-psychotherapy.
Currently much of his work focuses on enabling social initiatives to develop efficient strategies to bring collective action that can affect positive social change on the ground.
Nature based work is at the core of his endeavours to bring about meaningful change in our collective consciousness which he pursues through the Healing forest initiative. The objective of this initiative is reconnecting people to nature and bringing a more human element into environmentalism and conservation. The idea is to show people the healing powers of nature and how it is at the very roots of our well being. This is done through healing walks and retreats into the forests. The principle is to develop meaningful relationships with nature, ourselves and our communities.