A post from Michael Heather

Update from Towards Ecological Civilization

Claremont Energy Vision: A Grassroots Movement for Energy Efficiency  
In the face of overwhelming needs, understanding where to begin can be a challenge. The task of mitigating climate change presents itself in the same way. What are the best ways to reduce energy consumption and limit greenhouse gases? What projects are already underway to boost sustainability in local communities? To answer some of these questions and continue our work collaborating toward a better future, EcoCiv led an event titled Claremont Energy Vision on April 13, 2017. The convening was co-sponsored with partners Claremont Home Energy Retrofit Project, Inc. (CHERP), the Hixon Center for Sustainable Design at Harvey Mudd College, and the Environmental Analysis program at Pomona College.

At the Shanahan Center auditorium at Harvey Mudd College, the Claremont Energy Vision program attracted a large crowd of students from the Claremont Colleges and community members from the city of Claremont. Using the framework of the pressing crisis and the need to move toward an ecological civilization, the event featured CHERP’s “Claremont Locally Grown Power” project as a case study in local sustainability efforts. Featuring speakers who were among local leaders and politicians, government officials and advocates, business executives and cutting edge researchers, the conversation welcomed the audience into learning about the exciting work being done in their own backyard. Following time to interact with questions, the audience was invited to engage the speakers in informal discussions of how the aspects of the project work together and opportunities moving forward.

Claremont Energy Vision sought to demonstrate the multi-faceted value and implications of CHERP’s efforts to implement energy efficiency on a city-wide basis. Speakers worked to inspire the local community and increase awareness, with the goal of building future support from new strategic partners and local stakeholders. Instead of focusing on a singular and compartmentalized issue, Claremont Energy Vision demonstrated how both EcoCiv and CHERP aim to bridge “silos” by integrating the critical elements of job creation, local economic stimulus, economic social justice, and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. Through our expert speakers, the discussion began to construct the groundwork for a grassroots movement. There was a unanimous agreement across federal, state, and city leaders that local communities are the true catalyst for instituting an ecological civilization – working within a “bottom-to-top” paradigm empowers citizens and subsequently local officials, allowing them to diffuse the efficient and replicable CHERP innovations from city-to-city. EcoCiv will collaborate with CHERP and others to use the Claremont Energy Vision event as outreach to other cities, demonstrating the support and replicability of the locally grown power project. Participants confirmed that the project is scalable throughout California and is a necessary step in working toward a more sustainable future.

For further details on Claremont Energy Vision, please see the event webpage. EcoCiv welcomes you to contact us for further information on how you can become involved.

David Orr, Hope, and Ecological Civilization 

Destiny is the sum total of the choices we make, and we have the power to make different choices and hence to create a destiny better than that in prospect. The challenge to those intending to lead is to help create a vision of a decent human future within the bounds of ecological possibility. We must honestly face the forces we’ve set in motion and look to a farther horizon. -David Orr in Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse

On April 1 EcoCiv convened a major symposium, hosted at home of George Washington University’s president, Steven Knapp. The event included leaders of environmental organizations, policy experts, scholars, and activists. For participants, it was a practice in stepping back from their day-to-day efforts to construct and implement sustainable policies and to consider their work from the standpoint of the longer-term goal, an ecological civilization.

David Orr set the stage by highlighting evidence of climate change and demonstrating that global society is on a path toward social, economic, and political collapse as a result. Through backcasting– working backwards from the goal of an ecological society to guide decision-making today —participants were invited to think how their current work should be reoriented, especially in light of the danger of climate-induced economic collapse. Individual policy experts made proposals for roadmaps in their sectors that would help move society toward our ultimate goal: ecological civilization. In the same pursuit, EcoCiv will continue to engage policy experts along with grassroots organizations to promote the societal and cultural transition to ecological civilization.

Click here for more details.

Save the Date: The 11th International Forum on Ecological Civilization (April 28-29, Claremont, CA)  
It is no secret that both China and the world are facing many disturbing problems today. We are heading toward the ecological catastrophes. Finding an alternative to the current form of modernization has become an urgent issue. What is the root causes of the current crisis? What are the philosophical, political, economic, and cultural foundations of this crisis? How do we step out of this predicament and avoid the destruction of the earth? Are there alternatives to modern Western civilization that underlies the modern period? Is a new civilization—an ecological civilization possible? What is “ecological civilization”? What is its philosophical foundation? What are its social, political, and economic implications? How can we create an ecological civilization? Which kinds of practical models of ecological civilization are emerging in the world? What kind of role can China in creating an ecological civilization? The 11th International Forum on Ecological Civilization will contribute to fresh reflections on these questions from an organic, relational, non-dualistic perspective that is far more congenial to classical Chinese thinking.

For more details about the event and how to register, please click here.

Save the Date: The Francis Effect: Living in Harmony with Creation Conference (September 11-13, San Antonio, TX)  
The Francis Effect: Living in Harmony with Creation conference will focus on implementation of the Pope’s encyclical Laudato Si’ and be held at Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas on September 11-13, 2017. Co-sponsored by EcoCiv and Oblate, the conference is designed for theological educators, pastors, lay leaders and students particularly in the San Antonio region and beyond, inviting ecumenical participants across all spectrums. Our vision is to capture this exciting moment for religion and ecology and help to continue to build enthusiasm, train leaders how to make Laudato Si’ practical, and reach out to and develop a leadership network of over 200 thinkers and practitioners for facilitating collaborative, creative, and concrete steps toward a sustainable future.
Save the Date: 11th International Whitehead Conference (July 25-28, University of the Azores)  
The University of the Azores is delighted to host the 11th International Whitehead Conference under the topic Nature in Process: novel approaches to Science and Metaphysics. The conference is taking place in Ponta Delgada, on the Island of S. Miguel. The Azorian natural beauty spontaneously invites this conference on Natural Science and Process Metaphysics creating the perfect setting for philosophical musing and discussion. The 11th IWC aims at bringing together process scholars from diverse scientific and philosophical areas so that they can share in one another’s different perspectives. It aims at emphasising the relevance of a process view to today’s world, namely concerning ethical and ecological issues whose frameworks need to be reinstated by a metaphysical, relational and holistic background, so that Process Philosophy can emerge as an important and reinvigorating worldview. Click here for more information.

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