ROOTS AND ORIGINS
The art and teachings carried within the Eco Courageous basket, while only possible through the encouragement of supportive community, have so far remained mostly the soul expression of 37 year old Joshua Halpern, MA, in the direct lineage of Josh's neighbor and teacher Joanna Macy, who has stood for six decades as one of the greatest living guides for healing the woundings of our planet.
Josh has been sharing sacred earthly relationships through art for over two decades, with a special sensitivity to the relationships that accompany transforming home. Josh was born and raised at the confluence of the Matawan and Wopowog Rivers in Princeton NJ, the son of two professors committed to both the journeys of the soul and the achievement of justice on the planet. Josh grew up playing in his father's garden and in the woods by the river, loving writing, music, and photography from a young age. He received a BFA in Film/Television from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2004.
While in school, Josh’s father Manfred died, and Josh spent the next several years making art unfolding his family’s reactions to this loss. A few of these works can be found here. Having discovered a great deal about his roots, Josh turned his attention to stories outside of himself, launched outsidejosh.com, and went WWOOFing - traveling around the world for 9 months in 2007, lending a hand on organic farms in Hawaii, the Philippines, Thailand, and India. Josh’s film about this journey WWOOF ‘n Wander (53 mins) is streaming here in seven parts.
Upon returning to his home hemisphere, back on his birth dirt, Josh worked for three years as the Organic Produce Coordinator for the best natural food store in New Jersey, the Whole Earth Center, deepening his connection with local food and food justice, and helping his mother vacate the house his family had called home for 50 years.
Working with his heart and hands, helping tend close relationships between people and soil, Josh began to recognize planetary forces interconnecting within the choices available to neighborhoods on the ground. He became moved to really study all the strands - what's unravelling and what's weaving together around us - and add more minds to his mix of understanding.
So in 2010 Josh moved to the Bay Area to pursue a masters degree at the California Institute of Integral Studies, studying with a community of deeply caring and conscious cross-pollinating scholars, healers and activists, receiving his MA in Integral Ecologies in 2013.
Integral Ecologists help communities and individuals regenerate mutually enhancing relationships with the Earth. This can cover a range of earthly scales - from building local systems to perpetuate what's precious to unique communities - to attending to the complex needs of families whose homes can no longer hold them, falling into the already staggering numbers of climate-based refugees around the world. Josh doesn't have anywhere near all the answers, but through teaching events and workshops, creative placeplaying, and individual consultation, he cultivates a steady ability to hold and share the questions, and integrates great diversities of perspective for deeply crucial choices, drawing from different directions depending on the details, including ~
~ expressive arts therapy
~nature based healing modalities
~ permaculture ~ transition town initiatives
growing food as medicine~
up-to-date climate science ~
~ planetary biologies
~ quantum physics deep ecology ~
environmental ethics ~
~ the spectrum of ecological humanities
~ indigenous wisdom traditions
~ cross-cultural spiritual understandings
~ immanent place-based ceremonies
~ the responsibilities of
shared solidarities in the
for peace and
While not creating educational art, Josh is deeply grateful for several earth and soul supportive jobs which allow a beautiful abundance in Josh's life, if not a lot of money. For the last 5 years he has sold local raw honey at farmers markets all over the Bay Area for Marshall's Honey Farm, and he loves this job - the opportunity to trade fresh food with land-tending neighbors, update folks how the bees are doing, track how the drought's affecting his farmer friends at the market.
And since Autumn 2015 Josh has worked as a garden teacher at Merriewood Children's Center in Lafayette CA, helping to tend a 3/4 acre garden of food, fruit trees, chickens, and children from preschool through 5th grade. Josh is so excited to learn each season together!
And now rounding out half a decade of watershed explorations, Josh is the founding guide at Watershed Witness Tours, re-engaging Bay Area residents with their sources of drinking water.
No matter the method, Josh sees helping folks deal with the changing planet as this incarnation's work, and understands these Eco Courageous offerings as the confluence of his life's rivers.
Trying to weave together everything Josh does, he is currently calling himself a Metamorphosis Ecologist - you can call him whatever you want. His previous body of work can be found at outsidejosh.com. Josh is reachable for any reason in the world at firstname.lastname@example.org