Narratives for change

How can schools lead and inspire in an era of ecological crisis? Our students, and others, are taking to the streets to demand climate solutions; in many parts of the world there is growing dissent and social upheaval.   How can we innovate regenerative change that responds to rather than avoids, the trauma our students are facing as they come of age in a world of pressing social and ecological problems?  We often curtail dialog in an attempt at efficiency, yet research indicates that allowing for narrative increases emotional support, empathy, agency, synergistic relationships, and creative solutions.  Analysis of dialogue and narrative can provide insights not afforded in more tightly structured exchanges and utilizing narrative and storytelling can free us to face problems and solve them in innovative ways.  In this interactive workshop we propose tools from grounded theory and narrative analysis as well as storytelling to find answers by opening up conversations with our students, our teachers and our community to help schools lead toward regenerative change and start to tell a new story of sustainability.

Time commitment:  1 for an introduction and 3.5 hours for a full workshop including curriculum design.



David Abram Retreat

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This is a unique opportunity to participate in a workshop in Norway with David Abram, world-renowned cultural ecologist, storyteller, and geophilosopher.

As the climate veers toward catastrophe, the many losses cascading through the biosphere make vividly evident the need for a radical metamorphosis in our human relation to the more-than-human natural world. How can we spark fresh solidarity between humankind and the other animals, plants, and elemental forces that compose this breathing planet? Join David Abram in this workshop for an investigation into the reciprocity between our creaturely senses and the earthly sensuous, between storytelling and the powers of place, between wildness and shadowed wonder, between the human imagination and the land’s wild dreaming.

david abramDavid Abram is the author of Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology and The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-than-Human World. Hailed as “revolutionary” by the Los Angeles Times, as “daring” and “truly original” by Science, Dr. Abram’s work has helped catalyze the emergence of several new disciplines, including the burgeoning field of Ecopsychology. David’s books are widely translated and taught all around the world, while his essays on the cultural causes and consequences of environmental disarray are published in numerous magazines, scholarly journals, and anthologies. Named by both the Utne Reader and the British journal Resurgence as one of a hundred visionaries currently transforming the world, in 2014 David held the international Arne Naess Chair in Global Justice and Environment at the University of Oslo. David is Creative Director of the Alliance for Wild Ethics (AWE), an organization dedicated to cultural metamorphosis; he lives with his family in the southern Rocky Mountains of New Mexico.

houseThe workshop will take place from Thursday Aug.1 at 17.00 through Saturday, Aug. 3 at 14.00. The venue is an old farmhouse in Vestfold county in the municipality of Horten on two acres with gardens, goats, and a cat. The house and adjoining annex have three large rooms which will be converted to multi-bed dorms, as well as plenty of lawn space for tents. There are two bathrooms and water is rationed in summer so there will be a schedule for showers.


Prices are for the entire workshop including accommodation and all meals are
— 200 pounds (or 2228 kroner) – students and low waged
— 250 pounds (or 2785 kroner) — professional persons

For booking please contact Martin Lee Mueller:

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Inter-subjectivity, reciprocity, and empowerment in the age of the Anthropocene               

Horten, Norway:  June 7 – 9,  2019

home trees

A deep ecology retreat that nurtures our connection and inter-being with the natural world, with guest facilitator Dr. Andreas Weber, award winning biologist and philosopher.

This weekend retreat lasts from Friday evening until Sunday after lunch and guides participants toward rediscovering our inter-connectedness with nature.  We will start and end with the question ‘Who are we?’ and will deepen our understanding and knowing throughout the weekend as we also participate in the spiral of The Work That Reconnects.


andreas weberAndreas Weber, PhD: author of Biology of Wonder, Matter and Desire and Biopoetics. His spring 2019 release, Enlivenment – Toward a Poetics for the Anthropocene, forms the basis for this retreat.



Martin Lee Mueller, PhD: eco-philosopher, teacher, storyteller and author of Being Salmon, Being Human – Encountering the Wild in Us and Us in the Wild.

me at 60 (3)


Katharine Burke, deep ecology practitioner, permaculturist, teacher and facilitator of The Work that Reconnects.



 During the retreat we will: 

 – Discuss and reflect on the mechanisms of separation in our current society, the age of the Anthropocene, and the story we want for the world;

deep time walk vestfold fall 2017 trees– Participate in a deep time walk: 4.6 billion years of Earth’s history represented and narrated in a 4.6 kilometers walk through beautiful Vestfold;

– Connect with our need for healing in our grief for the world;

– Explore re-connection and inter-being through deep ecology and inter-subjectivity;

– Explore connection through the power of story;

– Nurture hope and empowerment for the future; and

– Work in the Spiral of The Work that Reconnects with gratitude, honoring our pain, seeing with new eyes, and going forth in connection to Earth.


100 – 250 British pounds (sliding scale depending on personal economy) includes retreat and meals from Friday evening to Sunday lunch.   

Accommodation: 20, 15 or 10 pounds per night, depending on shared room, teepee, or tent

max20 persons.

14364906_338655916468957_1788435821182793163_nThis retreat will take place in the beautiful Norwegian countryside in June, with almost 24 hours of daylight per day.  Round trip flights from England (London Stansted) are currently only 40-65 pounds depending on departure on Sunday or Monday.  We can provide pick up and delivery to the airport (Oslo Torp) which is just a half hour from the venue.



For more information and booking forms, please contact Katharine Burke at:

Regenerative Design Principles in Pedagogy

Permaculture is a systems-based approach to problem-solving based on cycles, processes, and principles observed in nature. In a permaculture garden or landscape, planting, sowing, growing, and the design of the landscape are practiced in ways that mimic processes in nature and reflect an understanding of water flow, wind patterns, earth and soil composition, beneficial plants and insects, zones of growth and many other elements.

In the last few years, permaculture principles have been extended from garden and landscapes to the realm of ‘social permaculture’. If we are also natural creatures, then this makes sense. Social permaculture design is a way to recreate nature’s principles in our own lives, interactions, and social groups. As natural beings, we are of and from nature. Our separation from nature and natural processes is in fact,  I believe, both the cause of our poor understanding of and horrific misuse of nature and the cause of many of our own social problems. Reconnecting with nature and with natural processes can help to heal the environment, can heal our social structures, and can heal ourselves. Looby Macnamara’s excellent book, People and Permaculture, is a wonderful introduction to the ways that an understanding of permaculture ethics, principles, and design can be used in our own lives to develop lifestyle design.

As a permaculturist, teacher and curriculum designer, I became interested in the ways permaculture and regenerative design principles can be used within the ‘landscape’ of a classroom, and in developing the larger school curriculum. We have the responsibility, I believe,to bring an understanding of permaculture ethics, principles, and design methodology to schools and to teachers.