Featured in the Garrison Institute Newsletter Autumn 2010
The Garrison Institute’s Initiative on Contemplation and Education (ICE) works to introduce relevant contemplative techniques to educators, helping create healthy school environments conducive to children becoming responsible, productive, caring adults, while at the same time helping improve student academic performance. ICE’s recent work was made possible through grants from the NoVo Foundation, Mary and James H. Ottaway, Jr. and the US Department of Education’s Institute of Educational Sciences.
ICE field work and meetings are funded in part by a generous grant from the NoVo Foundation. In late 2009 ICE reorganized and expanded its Leadership Council to 20 distinguished advisers committed to the growth of this field. New members include Trish Broderick, Bob Dandrew, Tobin Hart, Susan Kaiser-Greenland, Linda Lantieri, Peggy McCardle, Jerome Murphy, Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, Pamela Seigle, David Sluyter, Robin Stern, Mark Wilding, Rona Wilensky and Arthur Zajonc. The complete list and bios are posted on our website.
The expanded Council held meetings at the Institute in November 2009 and May 2010, planned and coordinated by ICE director Dr. Tish Jennings and ICE Leadership Council chair Dr. Mark Greenberg and ably facilitated by Wilding and Wilensky. At the meetings, Council members shared their current work and ideas on guiding further development of the field. Most recently, the Council began planning a new contemplative education field-mapping project. The next Leadership Council meeting is scheduled for November 2010.
ICE will hold a Mindful Parenting forum in September, 2010 led by Rob Rosen of the Kirlin Charitable Foundation. Planning is also underway for the next installments in ICE’s continuing series of professional meetings, including a 2011 forum and a 2011 symposium. In June, ICE hired a new part-time field development coordinator, Susan Fountain. For updates on ICE programs and personnel, check our website.
Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE) is a professional development program for teachers, designed by the Garrison Institute to give them tools to cope with stress and support their pupils to overcome difficulties and flourish socially, emotionally and academically.
We are currently beginning the second year of a US Department of Education-funded development project to further test and refine CARE in school districts in Pennsylvania. We are analyzing data from the first school year of the project, examining psychosocial self-report outcomes in teachers and classrooms. Results of evaluations and focus groups so far suggest that most participating teachers find CARE improves their sense of well-being and their ability to provide effective emotional, behavioral and instructional support for students. During the upcoming school year, the project will use a randomized controlled trial design.
Meanwhile, we continue to receive inquiries about CARE from educators and researchers across the US and around the world and more schools and organizations are beginning to contract with the Garrison Institute to provide CARE programs, including Schools & Educational Networks, the Academy for Education Development (AED), Southern Westchester BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services) and the Greater Capital Region Teacher Center for Effective Teaching.
The 3rd Annual CARE Summer Retreat for Teachers was held at the Institute on August 14-19, 2010 and was made possible by generous support from Rosalie Fedoruk.
ICE disseminates the results of its work to the field through professional conferences, publications and media. In recent months ICE director Dr. Tish Jennings presented ICE’s work at the Positive Behavioral Support & Intervention (PBIS) conference, the Albany Teachers’ Center, the 2010 Mind and Life Summer Research Institute meeting on “Education, Developmental Neuroscience and Contemplative Practices,” and the Fetzer Institute’s “State of Contemplative Practice in America” conference, where she delivered a white paper on contemplative education (posted at www.garrisoninstitute.org/education). Edutopia also wrote up news of ICE’s CARE program in its November/ December 2009 print edition and on its website.
The Garrison Institute’s Initiative on Transformational Ecology (ITE) examines how our mental models and patterns of thought affect our relationship with the environment and how, by examining and shifting them, we might transform our relationship with the earth. ITE’s integrative approach combines new insights from current scientific research in many disciplines with shared values and contemplative wisdom. It works with advocates, scientists, thought-, movement- and business leaders and policy and communications experts to create new learning networks, nurture innovative thinking and find scalable ways to shift mindsets, alter behavior and achieve systems-level change. Its goal is to transform human-caused ecological problems, including climate change. Leadership support for ITE comes from the Betsy and Jesse Fink Foundation and the Surdna Foundation.
The Garrison Institute’s Climate Leadership Program is designed to help not-for-profit, grassroots, governmental, real estate, academic and scientific leaders be more effective in the fight against climate change. We identify emerging areas of thought relevant to the climate movement, form leadership councils to guide their exploration and hold a by-invitation symposium on the subject, recruiting participation of key thought and movement leaders. Afterwards, we support their ongoing networking and collaboration to implement these ideas on a broader scale.
ITE’s Climate, Mind and Behavior (CMB) Project integrates emerging research findings about what drives human behavior into new thinking on climate solutions. CMB convenes leading thinkers and practitioners in the fields of climate change and environmental advocacy, neuro-, behavioral and evolutionary economics, psychology, policy-making, investing and social media, working together on ways to shift behavior on a large scale and achieve large-scale pro-climate emissions impacts.
After a year and a half of intensive research and organizing, the inaugural CMB symposium was held at the Institute in March 2010 (see lead article on page 1). The Deutsche Bank Climate Change Research Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation and Shell International provided additional funding for the symposium.
The CMB network and programs are active and growing. Updated CMB information and media coverage are posted at www.garrisoninstitute.org/cmb
The Climate, Buildings and Behavior (CBB) project is a component of the Climate, Mind and Behavior (CMB) project. Buildings account for 42% of all US greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, so reducing energy consumption through behavior change among managers and occupants can significantly reduce GHG emissions.
Following the March 2010 CMB retreat, May 26–28 the Institute hosted the second annual Climate, Buildings and Behavior conference, exploring ways of applying insights from neuro-, behavioral and social sciences to encourage pro-climate behavior among building managers and occupants. Sixty three for-profit, not-for- profit, university, institutional and governmental real estate owners, developers and managers attended. The JPMorgan Chase Foundation and the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation generously provided scholarships for representatives of not-for-profits to attend.
Among the presenters at the meeting was Garrison Institute co-founder Jonathan Rose, who gave a talk on the CMB baseline study and elaborated relevant new insights from behavioral economics, “happiness” economics, social science and neurobiology (a video is posted at www. garrisoninstitute.org/cmb-video). Participants formed working groups on topics including developing metrics to measure changes in energy consumption in buildings, communicating the CBB message to the press and real estate community and designing programs to encourage behavior shifts among building operators and occupants that will help lower building energy consumption. Here are some examples of concrete behavioral shift initiatives CBB participants are currently working on:
• BetterBricks, the commercial building initiative of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, initiated a “Kilowatt Crackdown,” engaging over 20% of the entire Puget Sound commercial office market representing over 20 million square feet) in an energy efficiency “competition” to benchmark energy use and increase efficiency.
• The Common Ground Community, a leading affordable housing developer which conducts homelessness outreach and prevention, launched an effort to change the behavior of its tenants and staff to “create a culture of self-sufficiency as well as a healthy living/green lifestyle.”
• Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation is offering green programs for tenants and their children in all of its buildings in the Bronx, including workshops on energy efficiency, green building, recycling tips and improving indoor air quality.
Another CMB-related retreat, Catalyzing the Clean Energy Economy (CCEE), was held at the Garrison Institute on May 8–10, 2010. Conceived and led by Billy Parish, co-founder and coordinator of the Energy Action Coalition, and supported by a generous grant from the Kresge Foundation, it convened more than 60 diverse not-for-profit leaders, business leaders, government officials and researchers, from energy sector representatives to community-based activists. Many of them were under 30 years old.
CCEE was facilitated by Van Jones, cofounder of Green for All, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and Color of Change, and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. The retreat focused on creating green jobs and a clean energy economy, stimulating consumer demand for energy-efficient home and business retrofits and making successful use of relevant federal programs such as the Recovery Act, which allocates $452 million for municipalities and nonprofits to create model retrofit programs.
Among the presenters were US Department of Energy (DOE) representatives who administer the Retrofit Ramp-Up awards. The DOE program aims to generate models capable of saving $100 million annually in utility bills while leveraging private sector resources and creating an estimated 30,000 jobs over the next three years.
Together, participants worked to find ways to ensure Recovery Act funding created more quality jobs, improved equity in hiring and supported the energy retrofit industry and clean energy generally.
In particular, they discussed consumer behavior and how to use insights from behavioral and social sciences to stimulate demand for home retrofits and weatherization. The CMB project was presented to participants, including Dr. Gowdy’s baseline study and a report on the CMB inaugural retreat. CMB continues to work with Billy Parish and the Energy Action Coalition and will help collect and disseminate case studies and research on successful local implementation.
The Initiative on Transforming Trauma (ITT) works to advance the emerging field of contemplative-based trauma care by identifying, networking and convening researchers, clinical practitioners, contemplative experts, policymakers and funders. It aims to increase visibility of new contemplative-based clinical and self-care interventions, highlighting scientific research that can validate such approaches. ITT’s recent work was made possible through the generous support of Alison and Peter Baumann and Shipman Associates.
An initiative-wide ITT Leadership Council was formed and met for the first time in late 2009. The Council guides ITT’s work and helps develop the emerging field of contemplative trauma research and treatment. Composed of leading traumatologists,
clinical practitioners and researchers, the founding members of the ITT Leadership Council include Lori Arviso Alvord, John Briere, Mary Ann Dutton, Victoria Follette, Doralee Grindler- Katonah, Jim Hopper, Anthony King, Charles Raison, Deborah Rozelle (chair), Garrison Institute trustee Sharon Salzberg and Lyn C. Waelde. ITT is currently planning a major 2011 public symposium on trauma. For current information on ITT programs and personnel, including leadership council bios, check our website.
In 2009 ITT completed a successful five-year pilot of the Wellness Project, developing and conducting trainings to support human service providers’ wellbeing while imparting skills that reduce stress, build resilience and enhance the effectiveness of their work with clients. From 2005 through 2009 Wellness conducted trainings for over 400 human service providers working in some 40 domestic violence shelters throughout the New York metropolitan area. These trainings and the curriculum they employed are documented in a Wellness resource manual.
Its pilot phase now over, Wellness is undergoing assessment and strategic planning for a new phase of growth, which includes cultivating new prospects and exploring wider applications and new contexts. In late 2009, Kirsti (Kiko) Lattu joined ITT as an adviser to Wellness International, a new project investigating ways of adapting Wellness trainings to support international human rights activists, humanitarian aid workers and social service providers around the world. In February 2010 Dr. Rozelle and Ms. Lattu presented a workshop in Dublin, Ireland on “Wellness and Resilience for Human Rights Defenders” in collaboration with the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (see page 17). Wellness International is made possible by the generous support of the Louis and Anne Abrons Foundation, the William H. Donner Foundation, Inc. and the Sigrid Rausing Trust.
ITT conducts research in the emerging field of contemplative-based trauma care. Ms. Lattu is leading a new study on the feasibility of ITT developing and delivering a Wellness and resilience building Retreat program for international aid workers. Study findings will be presented to the Institute’s board this summer, and will guide future Wellness programming. ITT is also conducting an ongoing mapping study to document the current state of the field of contemplative-based trauma care, analyzing which practices are being used with which populations and with what success.
ITT disseminates the results of its work to the field through professional conferences, publications and media. In June 2010, Dr. Rozelle presented ITT’s work to the Fetzer Institute’s conference on “The State of Contemplative Practice in America.” She and John Briere, Victoria Follette and Jim Hopper are contributing to a forthcoming book edited by Garrison Institute Senior Fellow David I. Rome, which features chapters by leading professionals whose work integrates contemplative practice and trauma treatment.
At the invitation of the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a.k.a. Front Line, the Garrison Institute’s Initiative on Transforming Trauma gave a one-day workshop on February 9, 2010 in Dublin, Ireland, entitled “Wellness and Resilience for Human Rights Defenders.”
Building on the curriculum of the Wellness Project, a contemplation oriented training originally developed for US domestic violence workers, ITT Leadership Council chair Deborah Rozelle, Psy.D., adapted the curriculum for this new international audience in collaboration with other faculty and advisers.
Wellness builds skills to reduce professional burnout, maintain and enhance effectiveness and mitigate the ill effects of work-related psychological trauma and stress.
Our Wellness International adviser Kirsti (Kiko) Lattu, M.P.H., established the collaboration with Front Line, which offered an opportunity to explore how Wellness could be expanded into new places and professional contexts, including the stressful work environments of international human rights activists, humanitarian aid workers and social service providers.
Dr. Rozelle and Wellness faculty members Gayla Marie Stiles and Zayda Vallejo jointly presented the workshop at the Dublin conference for 20 human rights defenders selected by Front Line. The participants included eight men and twelve women from 18 different countries in Africa, Latin America, Central Asia and South Asia.
For them, it was a rare opportunity to focus on caring for themselves as central to sustaining their work. Defenders learned about mental and physical effects of trauma, shared stories of their own traumatic experiences and assessed how they react to and cope with stressors.
Frequently reported reactions range from poor appetite, body pain, headaches, fatigue and forgetfulness to emotional numbness, nightmares, hyperventilation and increased irritability or panic in response to trauma triggers. These responses can affect workers’ perception and judgment and increase vulnerability to potentially serious external threats they face, which range from intimidation and unlawful incarceration to violence and even attempted assassination.
Participants received training in self-care skills adapted from the Wellness curriculum, such as practical mindfulness applications and body-based and breathing exercises. The diverse modalities resonated across their many faith traditio
The workshop was enthusiastically received. Some participants even reported dramatic physical changes following the workshop, such as improved digestion and absence of chronic body pain. In follow-up interviews after returning to their home countries, several human rights defenders reported making changes to their routines, committing to post-Wellness training and looking for ways to share Wellness skills with their organizations and co-workers.
Although the Dublin workshop presented a much-abbreviated version of the Wellness curriculum, it yielded valuable preliminary information on helping human rights defenders develop strategies for self-care that can help sustain their activism, and on the potential for further adaptation of Wellness for international audiences.