Meet our volunteers: Aidan Ring
This season’s volunteer bio features our Newsletter Co-ordinator, Aidan Ring
Since graduating from UCD in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts International in Psychology, I have developed a strong interest in Environmental Psychology… and become a pretty enthusiastic environmental activist in the process. As a certified tree-hugger and qualified outdoorsy type, I see the value of nature not only as a place to stimulate calmness and wellbeing for people but also as pretty much the only context which all human beings share and can feel at home in. I have been heard to remark that ‘You can take the individual out of nature but you can never take nature out of the individual!’.
Since early childhood, I’ve been a lover of the outdoors, nature, travel and adventure! I have treasured memories of hikes in the Wicklow Mountains with my family and of cycling the Camino de Santiago with a group from secondary school. I am a sensation-seeking type; I have travelled extensively looking for stimulating experiences… and I’d like to think that I’ve developed a knack for finding them! I’ve hiked the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal and the Fishermen’s Trail in Portugal, but the jewel in the crown of my travel history has to be the Non-EU Exchange Year I spent living in Melbourne Australia. At the University of Melbourne, I enjoyed expanding my horizons by experiencing my beloved subject, Psychology, taught in a different institution (and a different hemisphere!) to my Alma Mater, UCD. Living in the vibrant yet relaxed metropolis of Melbourne, with all of its colourful open-minded people, was also highly formative in terms of both my love and respect for the environment but also in terms of my other passion; fire performing.
Indeed, I’m also a part-time circus performer specialising in fire diabolo and fire chain staff. Such is my fascination with circus performing and flow arts that it was the focus of my final year research project in Psychology. The central research question was whether circus performers, who tend to be non-competitive, are more likely to experience flow (or the state of being in the zone) than competitive performers (players of normal, competitive sports). This research has informed my approach to performing and added to my understanding of human well-being immensely.
In the year or two since my graduation, I have done a lot of work with NGOs and I now have my fingers in many environmental pies, as it were (they’re all vegan pies of course). I volunteer with Young Friends of the Earth and the EEAI and have previously interned in the Communications Department of ECO-UNESCO. My focus is mostly on the literary side of things and I have written articles, blog posts and newsletters for these organisations. However, I relish the chance to roll up my sleeves (I try to keep one rolled up all the time just in case) and to get stuck into practical work too. I have been involved in running events, carrying out interviews and, of course, creative recycling!
At the EEAI, I am, once again, keen to put my literary talents to good use by collaborating in the production of newsletters, blog posts, slogans and other word… stuff. As mentioned, I have a particular interest in how human behaviour relates to the environment in which it is performed and how this, in turn, effects our perception of that environment. Environmental Psychology is an extremely broad but fascinating field. I believe it has a major part to play in generating sustainability action based on the knowledge that we, human beings, not only rely on nature, but, essentially, are nature! Therefore, the quest to save our planet is also a quest to save ourselves. I am not sure how best to use the field in this quest but I’m certain that bringing people out to experience the outdoors in a therapeutic setting could not possibly hurt! That is why I am delighted to be involved with the EEAI and look forward to contributing everything I can to the work of this magnificent team!
Volunteering with the eeai community is an excellent way for professionals, students/graduates, as well as those who are simply interested and passionate about the field to gain a close-up introduction to ecopsychology and ecotherapy.
No matter if you’re a professional psychotherapist or an amateur walking enthusiast you will have something of value to offer through volunteering.