Surviving Depression in a Depressing World, an Ecological Perspective

Carlita is an environmental journalist, author, project developer, hypnotherapist and educator who wants to share her insights and experiences to benefit people living with autism, anxiety, trauma, severe depression and suicidal thoughts. Here she talks openly about her life and gives an ecological perspective in her up and coming book, ”Surviving Depression in a Depressing World, an ecological perspective”.

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An Ecological Perspective on Depression

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The Silent Ecocide

The Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Openly declared Genocide on the Kawahivas people who are on the edge of extinction.

1545397256_606928_1545397773_noticia_normal_recorte1Photo copyright-Marcelo Camerago

The UN defines genocide as “any of the acts perpetrated with the intention of destroying, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.” But the classification of such crimes as genocide or not is partly a matter of the number of victims. While the genocides of Rwanda or Bosnia received global attention, many others that take place outside the visual field of public opinion, especially on the Latin American continent. These are neither investigated nor recognized because they involve rural villages of a few hundred, or even a few dozen people.
Although the agreement on the genocide of the United Nations (UN) Organization came into force 70 years ago, entire tribes continue to be attacked and exterminated by  powerful corporations and their dominant society in order to steal their lands and natural resources. In the depths of the Amazon rainforest, one of these native tribes forced to uproot and leave their ancestral land because of this. It is the Kawahivas, a small isolated tribe of a few dozen members, survivors of waves of violent attacks that have brought them to the brink of extinction.

”Their territory, known as Rio Pardo, is in Mato Grosso state, where illegal deforestation rates are the highest on record in Brazil’s Amazon.

Rio Pardo lies within the municipality of Colniza, one of the most violent areas in Brazil. 90% of Colniza’s income is from illegal logging.

The Kawahiva’s plight is so serious that in 2005 a public prosecutor launched Brazil’s first ever investigation into the genocide of an uncontacted Indian tribe. Twenty-nine people suspected of involvement in killing Kawahiva, including a former state governor and a senior policeman, were detained but later released. The case has stalled for lack of evidence.”– Survival International.

The last of the Kawahiva are forced to live on the run from armed loggers and powerful ranchers. Image taken from rare footage from a chance encounter with government agents.
The last of the Kawahiva are forced to live on the run from armed loggers and powerful ranchers. Image taken from rare footage from a chance encounter with government agents. -FUNAI

We know almost nothing of the Kawahiva, except that they have been forced to change their way of life from settled villages to becoming nomadic and only setting up temporary shelters to constantly flee the Oil merchants and the Loggers tractors and mechanical saws. They live in constant fear of genocide, in this region of the Brazilian Amazon basin, where there is the highest rate of illegal deforestation in the country. The territory of the Kawahivas is located near the city of Colniza, one of the most violent areas of Brazil, where 90% of the income comes from illegal logging for the timber industry. Unless the Brazilian authorities act immediately, the genocide of the Kawahivas will be fulfilled shortly.

Often, small tribes such as the Kawahivas are seen as an obstacle to the advance of  oil drilling and agro-industry, mineral extractive industries, roads and dams. The Brazilian Amazon is home to around 100 isolated tribes, which make up the vast majority of the world’s uncontacted population. They are the most vulnerable people on our planet.

As the jungle is invaded and destroyed in the name of economic progress and personal gain, these peoples are attacked and liquidated by the simple fact that greedy outsiders know that they can even kill with impunity and the public media do nothing to report these horrors. These are silent and invisible genocides, of which there are hardly any witnesses. Often, the news only comes to light months or years later. It is probable that we will never get to know the real number of uncontacted indigenous peoples that have been eliminated because they are indigenous, they may not even speak more than their own native language, not Portuguese, and they are seen by the established colonials and especially by the elite and government as a “nuisance” and obstacle to development.

This mentality goes back to the Far West of the 18th and 19th centuries, when the native peoples of the United States were annihilated by the settlers, many of whom considered that “the only good Indian is the dead Indian”. Jair Bolsonaro, president-elect of Brazil, also thinks this. He has declared that “it is a shame that the Brazilian cavalry was not as effective as the Americans, who exterminated their Indians.”

His words of hatred add fuel to an already incendiary situation: in recent months those who want to appropriate indigenous lands have been encouraged and attacks on indigenous communities have proliferated. Bolsonaro has proposed to take FUNAI, the Department of Indigenous Affairs responsible for uncontacted indigenous peoples, from the Ministry of Justice to place it in the new Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights. This will undoubtedly reduce the effectiveness and influence of FUNAI.

Moreover, she has appointed Damares Alves as the new minister, an evangelical preacher and parliamentary assistant. Along with other people, she founded Atini, a group dedicated to evangelizing indigenous communities that is being investigated by the prosecution for incitement to racial hatred against indigenous peoples.

Bolsonaro has promised that under his presidency will not protect “a millimeter” more of indigenous lands. Sonia Guajajara, an indigenous woman who joined the candidacy of another candidate for the presidency in 2018, declared during the campaign: “In Brazil, there is a political decision not to demarcate territories and, when it is denied [the demarcation] an entire population is condemned to extermination”.
Things do not have to be this way. Survival International was founded 50 years ago, after the publication of the article “Genocide” by Norman Lewis, in the Sunday Times [British newspaper] in 1969, which revealed the atrocities suffered by many indigenous peoples in Brazil in the last century. The 50 years of our successful campaigns demonstrate the strength and influence of raising awareness and mobilizing public opinion against governments and companies that do not respect the rights of indigenous peoples.

Now more than ever we have to mobilize our collective strength to denounce and put an end to these hidden genocides. If we stand silent and do nothing we are also complicit in the annihilation of the indigenous natives who are the most responsible and environmentally conscious guardians of the Amazon forest.

by Carlita Shaw

The Silent Ecocide, a crisis of consciousness

Story published in Spanish here.  

The Connection between Depression & Environmental Degradation


The above diagram shows the ecological and biological relationships between human illness and environmental pollutants. .

According to the World Health Organization, depression is now one of the most common health burdens in the world today, next to cardio vascular disorders and cancer. Major depression is a persistent severe condition and a very costly disorder in terms of lost efficiency at work, industrial accidents, high demand of bed use in hospitals, expense of treatment, state benefits, and personal suffering. Another alarming statistic from WHO is that up to 1 million people commit suicide annually, (Solomon et al., 2000).

Most qualified therapists who treat depression are not in a position to admit that yes we do in fact live in a depressing world, some might secretly share that opinion but their function is to focus on diagnosing imbalanced mental and emotional states and getting the patient to become more in touch with their truer feelings, to facilitate supporting them and treating them to be able to function again in the everyday world.

After a century of scientific research, there is actually no conclusive evidence of one single cause of depression and there are no single biological tests that can be taken to diagnose depression, therefore psychiatrists rely on non-specific forms and symptoms such as fatigue, hopelessness, problems sleeping and anxiety, but only some psychiatrists who have an in-depth knowledge of immunology are aware that problems with the immune system plays a large role in affecting brain chemistry as well as body chemistry, in this way we can see how diet and environmental pollution can affect depression on a biological level.


The degree of depression also depends on the individual’s history, biological profile and environmental and circumstantial factors, there is also a growing body of scientific research in journals published since the early 1990s that shows depression is correlated with immune system activity, which is responsible for the production of cytokines which influence brain function, if there are problems with the immune system, this usually causes chemical imbalances in the brain. Lymph cells can also be found in the brain, in addition to the gut being the largest area that also serves as part of the immune system, therefore, if you do suffer from depression it would also be beneficial for you to make some lifestyle changes especially with eating habits to help boost your immune system.

The Western view of treating mental illness as a separate issue from everything else that is going on in the body is slowly changing over the last 20 years as scientists start to understand that the immune system greatly influences the brain chemistry and the immune system is affected by environmental factors. In Eastern medicine, the brain and the body are not separated in medicine and treatment is more holistic and successful.


The increased level of air pollution and toxins in our food and water are also a sign that Western society would benefit from becoming more holistic and sustainable. We are our environment, physically and mentally, and if we already treat the environment like a dumping ground, how does this reflect our current state of consciousness, let alone our physical health? It is no wonder the rise in cancer and autoimmune illnesses are so high, we treat the environment like one big open garbage can and experimental laboratory.

At the peak of a technical boom, in a time when we have more wealth controlled by 1 percent of the elite, we also have more poverty. It feels like there is no such thing as homogenized progress in what we call civilization, most progress we have made is only with technology and not much of that is being used to help the problems of the planet, it’s mainly being used to control humanity or experiment with the fabric of time and space.

Anyone that is not deeply saddened by current global events are either in denial or very disconnected from the Earth and their true nature. It’s actually a sign of a healthily functioning human being, to be depressed in such times, it shows awareness and caring. The problem is that the undiagnosed mental illness of psychopathy and denial (of people in government and of people who hold positions of power), accompanied by an obsession with making money and controlling humanity as a priority above the cost of nature, ecocide, human life, the suffering of others and species extinction. It appears at times that to be in a position of power, the main qualification is a lack of sentience, empathy and complete disregard for nature accompanied by greed for money.

Warsaw, Poland.

There are wonderful things that capitalism has done for people, independent artists and musicians, technological developments, innovations and pioneers, but we also need to apply innovation and change to societies systems to develop more holistic and environmentally friendly ones, because society currently has a toxic and predatory nature that we could do without in modern capitalism This has created our collective dysfunctional ideas and beliefs about ourselves in relation to nature and other species in the human unconscious. There is a great deal of ecological ignorance and misunderstanding of environmental science, if we were all well-informed, I doubt we would be in such an environmental crisis.

In some approaches to treating and understanding depression relating to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Gestalt Therapy, depression is understood as an adaptive process to a stressful environment, in most cases the patient has withdrawn themselves in various ways from engaging in a world, (a world that is rather malfunctional).

Personally, I like Jeff Foster’s view on depression which is the need for the individual to conserve energy, to withdraw and take a deep rest. The only problem is we also need to function in order to work, pay our bills and keep up with the rent, but we cannot argue with the subconscious needs and sometimes, that takes a higher priority so we have to figure out ways to see that depression is our inner selves requiring more in-depth self-awareness, holistic healing and strengthening of the body and mind in order to regain function in the world.


Ecologists look at different biological and abiotic systems mainly related to ecosystems and how they work in relation to one another and if one becomes dysfunctional how that affects other ecosystems and species. From a deep ecological perspective depression is an indication that human understanding of itself in relation to the natural world, needs to change, since we lack respect for our environment and are polluting it at alarming rates, it is no wonder that autoimmune diseases and depression has risen statistically with industrial and technological development developing more toxic chemicals and pollution.

Though the academic books, journals and no doctor will ever diagnose a single cause of depression, immunology has identified that the immune system is a big factor and since the gastrointestinal tract is the largest immune organ in the body exposed to pathogens, from what we put into our body, we need to take into account that environmental pollutants, and chemical toxicity in our food can cause autoimmune problems too. This in turn causes other symptoms of an over active immune system and depression is a product of biological symptoms related to these factors, therefore a healthy external environment would reduce these influences and biological factors that can influence the rise in depression globally too. Most people do not connect the increase in external pollution, chemicals in water and food as an additional cause to the global rise in depression but we are our environment and this is one indication of this fact. We have actually gone over the limit of environmental and industrial pollution from pesticides and industrial waste so that even places where organic food is grown is still at risk of some sort of soil, air, or water contamination that affects our food sources and therefore our internal biological and mental ecology, which are showing detrimental signs of this pollution and disjointed what of thinking and treating the environment, with no thought of how it will eventually affect our own health.

Some people refer to depression as a ‘disease’. It is not a disease, but a result of a chemical and emotional imbalance of the brain and body, normally affected by long-term stress, deep trauma or grief and a bad diet, in addition to external environmental factors such as food and water sources being contaminated by environmental pollutants and ingested; causing autoimmune illnesses which is an unaccounted factor in the global rise in depression and depression related illnesses. In most large urban cities there is often a problem with air pollution, in 2011, studies were done on mice exposed to air pollution and this caused inflammation in the hippocampus, learning problems and symptoms associated with depression, (Aaron J. Cohen et al 2006.)


The global rise in depression is a biological and mental reaction to industry and technology polluting the environment and therefore polluting our bodies and minds. When we separate ourselves from nature mentally, we separate ourselves from the ability to find that place to feel safe in nature, this is a magical thing because it’s feeling at one with the Earth, at peace in nature, one of the best feelings in the world. Edward Wilson wrote a book examining the relationship between our well-being with our relationship with nature in his book ´´The Biophilia Hypothesis´´. There is a growing body of theoretical and empirical work on the effects of environmental degradation and people’s happiness and health. One paper found that using log-linear methods for the panel of 21 countries for the period 1970-2005, that environmental degradation matters for the happiness of the people, and as environment degradation increases, their happiness decreases. Further, economic growth is found to have a positive and significant impact on the happiness of the people, whereas wage inequality and cost of living had a negative and significant impact, (Aviral Tiwari, 2011).

Diagram showing aspects of society that could be improved by sustainability.

Modern ecological economics has also proven the traditional assumptions that the level of consumption of market goods and GDP is a close approximation to a social welfare function, put simply, human happiness and well-being does not correlate with material wealth. Even the most conservative interpretations of the relationship between income and well-being indicate that well-being is not determined by consumption alone, (Blanchflower and Oswald, 2004; Keely, 2005). Another interesting aspect of human well-being and environmental well-being, is the emotional effect of learning about species loss and environmental degradation on a person’s mental well-being are clearly detrimental to a person’s mental health. Scientists Gowdy and Carbonell, (2007), set up an empirical testing of E.O. Wilson’s Biophilia Hypothesis. The results were astounding, 85% of their participants reported concern about animal extinction. There is a relationship between human well-being and attitudes towards’ pollution and species loss and that it is not only pollution that negatively affects individual’s well-being but the human preoccupation of the impact of pollution on species loss, concern with biodiversity loss is a sign of caring about the living world. Individuals that care about biodiversity loss are believed to reveal a psychological connection with other living organisms.

Therefore, the positive relationship between well-being and concern about species extinction lends support to those who argue that humans receive positive psychological benefits from caring about other species, (Aviral Tiwari, 2011), (Kellert and Wilson, 1993). This is a very interesting study and gives those of us already deeply concerned about the state of the planet some hope, the importance of environmental awareness to human well-being shows that we do in fact get depressed if we know the environment is being destroyed, the effect that environmental concern has on an individual’s well-being. A priori, one may expect that any environmental concern would negatively affect an individual’s well-being. Gowdy and Carbonell, (2007), concluded that showing positive concern about nature, landscapes, interaction with plants and wildlife, is positively connected with human well-being, while the opposite is true for showing concern about negative environmental features (e.g. pollution). Therefore in addition to us actually getting physically sick and depressed if our environment is polluted, most of us get depressed just worrying about the state of the environment.

economie_circulaire_pole_eco_conception2Diagram demonstrating a more holistic circular economy better for humans and the environment. Courtesy of Ellen MacArthur Foundation, reuse permitted.

The global economic systems would benefit from integrating ecological concepts into the economy and society, but prefer to ignore this vital necessity if we are to live sustainably and fairly on this one and only Earth. There is one country in the world that understands this spiritually and practically, in the 1970s, the king of Bhutan announced that the happiness of the population was more important than Gross Domestic Product. Bhutan is leading humanity as the world’s first completely 100 per cent organic country with its agricultural practices and instead of measuring the country’s Gross National Product, (GNP), it puts emphasis and value on Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness (GNH) of its society, spiritual culture and people. Dr. Saamdu Chetri who endorsed my last book The Silent Ecocide, has been charged with this mission and responsibility for Bhutan and he set up the Center for Gross National Happiness in Bhutan to teach the world how to do this, integrating economy with ecology and spiritually and sustainability. Anyone can go and learn and partake in this innovative project for themselves and return to teach their own communities. I’m not suggesting Bhutan’s blueprint would work for every country or culture but it is certainly a courageous example of pioneering approaches to intentionally change our values to those that are less destructive and healthier for the individual and communities for the route humanity needs to take in order to step out of this crisis.

The corporatization of the political world has become unethical and careless, ignoring its responsibility to protect the planet and now this is reflected in the growing millions of depressed people across the planet, it is no surprise that over 1 million people have been reported to commit suicide per year, a very sure sign that things need to change at the very core of human society to integrate more ecological and holistic approaches to human health and happiness by improving the levels of environmental health and living closer to nature and integrating a more sustainable economy to ensure better future for humanity and the Earth.

by Carlita Shaw

Article inspired by her new book Surviving Depression in Depressing World due to be published soon.
#psychology #depression #nature #health

Further research

Aaron J. Cohen, H. Ross Anderson Bart Ostra, Kiran Dev Pandey, Michal Krzyzanowski, Nino Künzli, Kersten Gutschmidt, Arden Pope, Isabelle Romieu, Jonathan M. Samet, Kirk Smit 2006. The Global Burden of Disease due to Environmental Pollution. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A 1 Sep 2006
C. Arden Pope III and Douglas W. Dockery, Health Effects of Fine Particulate Air Pollution: Lines that Connect. Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association Vol. 56, Iss. 6, 2006

Aviral Kumar Tiwari. Happiness and Environmental Degradation: What Determines Happiness? Volume 31, Issue 4 Nov 22. 2011. Economics Bulletin
David G. Blanchflower and Andrew J.Oswald, Well-being over time in Britain and the USA 2004. Journal of Public Economics 88 (2004) 1359–1386

Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell and John Gowdy. Environmental degradation and happiness. Ecological Economics, 2007, vol. 60, issue 3, pages 509-516.

Edward O. Wilson and Stephen R. Kellert, The Biophilia Hypothesis. Island Press. 1995

D.A.Solomon, M.B.Keller, A.C.Leon, J.Endicott., March 2000, Multiple recurrences of major depression. American Journal of Psychiatry 157(2):229-33 ·

Become the Author of your own World and Words

empower yourself

Become the author of your own world and words, write your own story.

Let us look at this word ”authority” (n.)  Traced back to early 13th century, derived from autorite of a book or quotation that settles an argument, from Old French auctorité  meaning permission, the Scriptures 12th century; Modern French autorité, from Latin- auctoritatem (nominative auctoritas) “invention, advice, opinion-from auctor “master, leader, author.  Meaning “power to enforce obedience” is from late 14c.; meaning “people in authority” is from 1610s.

So, basically to break the word authority which casts a spell on humanity, let us break this illusion down, authority is just a fiction written by the authors that desire to control humanity because that is where the authors gains their power, from feeding off of a true power source in us, human beings we have the  truer power and authority in our world among our  communities, our families and tribes where we are the sovereign beings with our own free will, thoughts and power.

We are not persons or corporate fictions owned by the Crown corporation, which is simply another author that desires control through illusions because it has no genuine power source of its own, the same with every other authority that exists in civilization.

Reclaim your freedom and break down your illusion of this spell of ‘authority’ that humanity is under . Without us, the author of authority is nothing, we do not have to read or endorse their book of rules, especially as theirs is destroying the Earth and driving ecocide, let us write  and define our own reality in our own words and in our own imaginations and hearts.

Who do you think has true power here, authority or us, humanity? Authority has nothing to do with true power but everything to do with control and feeding off of humanity, almost consuming us as if we were the food of this fictitious illusion of authority, humanity is the true power, why do you think we are being fed off via taking our attention, our taxes, energy, health, natural resources and our time? We are the ones that have the  power, that is why.

We have been giving authority our power continually and we do not  know it, until we start waking up, authority tries to control us because we are the power source, we have the true power.

Why do you think authority uses violence to control us? We have the true power!

Why does authority use mind control? Again, because we have more power than we realize.

We have the power to co-creating our own version of reality by using our own kingdom of Imagination, I-magic-nation, I- am the- magic- of my own (eye)- i- nation, the kingdom of my soul, heart and mind are my nation. I am my own sovereignty, the consciousness that flows through me is connected to the consciousness of our God source  and therefore  my consciousness and your consciousness co-creates with this God source, that is why we have imaginations, the gift and magic of seeing in our own inner nations as a tool to create our own dreams and desires into a perceived  and experienced external reality.

We can magically create what we want to see manifest in our world, if we use our hearts and our intelligence to define our own reality without the consensus reality that is dictated to us by authority.The  authors of authority are without an inner power source of their own, this is why they have written a fictitious construct that is no longer beneficial to humanity or Planet Earth.

Authority as it stands, is a destructive construct that is feeding off of the genuine power of humanity and we need to realize this in order to empower ourselves and break down the destructive construction of this illusion, of this authorized consensus illusion.  Authority is not all powerful, when we remove ourselves from agreeing with that illusion, authority no longer has power.

Why do you think the media and film industry is a multi-dollar industry? Not just because they are part of a propaganda machine but because they are trying to occupy your mind and own the power of your  imagination.

Your own power is worth far more than any old archaic wizard behind a curtain…… Realize you, me and everyone of us is powerful if not more so than any authority combined, we are far more powerful as sovereign beings and as global and local  communities or as a tribe.

Use your own power wisely, live life on your own terms, not on the terms dictated to you by fictitious authorities that are a parasitic entity and nothing to do with allowing humanity our own true power or freedom, self expression or sovereignty.

We do not need authority to have permission to be free sovereign beings, we do not need authority to choose to live sustainably or to take care of planet Earth for future generations, we do not need authority to choose what kind of healthcare or medicine we give ourselves or our children, we do not need authority to choose our or our children’s education, and we do not need authority to create a peaceful world, peace is only achieved when violence is not used to impose authority on civilizations.

Authority needs us, so herein lay the answers of who has the true power and control here, you and humanity. Live your life, dreams and desires on your own terms, and never give up hope as we have the power together to redefine our choices for the future, a peaceful vision for Earth and a Freer Humanity. —

Carlita Shaw – author of The Silent Ecocide

Related podcast by Carlita

Awakened Imagination

Available on in Paperback

The Silent Ecocide – Amazon UK

Email Carlita at thesilentecocide at
Follow on twitter @thesilentecocide