Institute for Ecological Civilization

Core Belief

The present trajectory of life on this planet is unsustainable, and the underlying causes of our environmental crisis are inseparable from our social and economic systems. The massive inequality between the rich and the poor is not separate from our systems of unlimited growth, the depletion of natural resources, the extinction of species, or global warming. Social and environmental movements require an orientation that is neither too narrow and short-term, nor too abstract and long-term to offer concrete guidance. Formulating the requirements for the flourishing of life in all its forms ― an ecological civilization ― will provide the roadmap that leaders need and will ground a hope that stimulates the necessary reforms.

Vision 

EcoCiv works internationally to design and scale solutions toward long-term sustainability, focusing on water, economies, and human communities. We conduct research, convene experts, and facilitate the quest for solutions. We then help implement solutions through engagement at both the local and global levels: multi-sector teams in city or regional “hubs,” combined with online forums for building networks and disseminating solutions. Other activities include consultations, think-tank gatherings, and policy engagement. The goal is to develop collaborations among government, business, and civic leaders and among scholars, activists, and policy makers.

Working at the intersection of theory and practice, we amplify narratives of hope that motivate, guide, and direct.  As humanity works its way from social and environmental threat toward an ecological society, only the transformative vision of a positive new story will suffice.  Where hopelessness arises, we call others to join us in walking toward ecological civilization, one step at a time.

(Taken from: https://ecociv.org/our-mission/)

Kay, David

Initially trained as an economist, I work as a senior outreach faculty member at Cornell University. I am affiliated with the Community and Regional Development Institute in Cornell’s Department of Global Development. I am interested primarily in community decision making and governance; the institutional, policy and personal changes needed for an energy transition in the US; and the responses of individuals and communities to the increasing risks posed by climate change.

Lanying, Zhang

Lanying is currently the Executive Deputy Dean, Institute of Rural Reconstruction of China in Southwest University at Chongqing. Here she has developed and implemented projects, training/workshops and study programs in the area of sustainable agriculture, environmental education, health education and participatory development approach for poverty reduction. Her own field of interests includes participation for better governance, rural education for individual development and collectivism as well as sustainable development for the poor and marginalized people to be out of poverty and inequality.

Doran, Peter

Drawing on over 25 years of experience in the reporting and analysis of UN negotiations on sustainable development, including consultancy roles with UN Secretariats, I combine research and policy interests in the fields of sustainable development, the commons, and the attention economy.

My collaborative work with John Woods and the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust led to the creation of Northern Ireland’s first high-level roundtable on wellbeing, and to the re-design of the NI Programme for Government (2015) incorporating an outcomes and indicators based framework to measure and achieve societal wellbeing.

In 2020, in collaboration with Dr Ciara Brennan, Newcastle University, Dean Blackwood, QUB, and James Orr, Friends of the Earth, I founded the Environmental Justice Network Ireland. This is a collaborative platform or ‘community of practice’ engaging the environmental legal profession, activists and policy makers committed to advancing environmental justice and the SDGs on the island of Ireland. See www.ejni.net

Please visit my blog at www.mindfulcommons.org

taken from https://pure.qub.ac.uk/en/persons/peter-doran

Inner change and sustainability initiatives: exploring the narratives from eco-villagers through a place-based transformative learning approach

Abstract

In an earlier work, we suggested that connection, compassion and creativity could be used as key analytical dimensions of transformative place-based learning (Pisters et al. in Emot Sp Soc 34(8):100578, 2019). This analytical framework was cre- ated to study processes of place-based transformative learning which evoke shifts in our consciousness. This inner change might well be critical in the development of regenerative practices and places. This article aims to critically investigate the framework empirically using life-story interviews with people living in three different ecovillages. Ecovillages are so-called intentional communities which aim to develop sustainable, regenerative ways of living. Methodologically, the research is grounded in an ethnography and narrative inquiry. Following the empirical results, we will reflect on the merits and short- comings of the analytical framework. The article concludes that the framework proved useful for its purpose if it includes a fourth dimension of ’transgression’ and portraits the dimensions as continua.

(Taken from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11625-019-00775-9)

Voggenreiter, Valerie

Sustainability – Self – Silence
Silence Spaces is a collective of four people, which resulted out of sustainable higher education at the Eberswalde University for sustainable development. During the M.Sc. program we realised, that the inner dimension is under represented when sustainability efforts come into action. Hence, we created a space for the self to empower sustainable behavior in silence and finally helping to transform mindsets and societies. Silence Spaces are physical as well as symbolic spaces. They are free of cyber activities, talking, reading, writing or any kind of input as long as there is not a a conceptualized learning journey taking place. In Silence we learn how to drop into ourselves, observe, reflect, relax – deep learning can take place and this environment can help us to deal more sustainable with ourselves instead of exploiting our own resources. Finally, Silence Spaces want to empower each single individual to invite inner change in order to initiate and shape sustainable outer change – and Silence is the container where this processes can origin from. Silence allows to LISTEN to our inner needs, become more empathic and caring towards oneself as well as the surroundings.

Ruf, Stefan

Wir verfolgen das Ziel, jungen Menschen in einer seelischen Krisensituation einen tragfähigen Wohn- und Arbeitsort in Form einer therapeutischen Wohngemeinschaft (TWG) zu verschaffen. Wir wollen einen Ort schaffen, an dem neben einem Wohnkonzept weitere Therapie, Prozesse der Nachreifung und gesunde Begegnungen möglich sind. Zielsetzung ist, den jungen Menschen durch das Erleben von sinnvoller Tätigkeit, die pädagogisch und psychotherapeutisch begleitet wird, eine Lebensplattform zu bieten, die gleichzeitig therapeutisch und entwicklungsfördernd ist. Eingebettet in ein haltgebendes, strukturschaffendes pädagogisches Jugendwohnen sollen mit Hilfe der intensiven therapeutischen Arbeit die jungen Menschen lernen, die Anforderungen des Alltags zunehmend selbstständig und selbstsicher zu bewältigen.

Workface

Workface is a network of currently around 1 million entrepreneurs all across China organized in dezentralized learning communities that meet once a week. We cultivate a practice along the three aspects serve – learn – support.

Ecological Footprint of the Findhorn Foundation and Community

“The study was commissioned by HIE Moray, a Highlands and Islands Local Enterprise Company, to measure the Ecological Footprint of the Findhorn Foundation and Community. The ecological footprint method has been used to determine the extent to which the Findhorn Foundation’s sustainable practices are reducing the Community’s environmental impact.”

Restoration of the tropical dry evergreen forest of peninsular India

“Abstract: The Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest (TDEF) ofIndia is only found on the south eastern seaboard of thepeninsular. It has a very limited range, and extends only 60km inland. The TDEF occurs in an area of high populationdensity and consequently it is the rarest type of forestecosystem found in the subcontinent.The establishment of the Auroville International Township in1968 initiated a major work of eco-restoration which has turneda highly eroded lateritic plateau into a re-emerging ecosystemof the TDEF.The work now spreads out beyond the boundaries of theinternational township and involves working with local people,especially women and children. Many lessons have beenlearnt and the work continues to reintegrate the forest in thesocial fabric of a rapidly changing rural environment.”

(source: Blanchflower, P. (2005). Restoration of the tropical dry evergreen forest of peninsular India. Biodiversity, 6(1), 17-24.)

Sadhana Forest

“Sadhana Forest started its ecological revival and sustainable living work on December 19th 2003.

The vision of its founders, Yorit and Aviram Rozin, is to transform 70 acres of severely eroded, arid land on the outskirts of Auroville. In a spirit of human unity, their aim is to introduce a growing number of people to sustainable living, food security through ecological transformation, wasteland reclamation, and veganism. Our energy and resources are focused on the creation of a vibrant, indigenous Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest (TDEF).

Sadhana Forest won the third place in the Humanitarian Water and Food Award (WAF) 2010. The ceremony took place in the Marble Hall of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, on November 25th, 2010. Shri Ashok Kumar Attri the Ambassador of India to Denmark honored Sadhana Forest by attending the ceremony.
This award is an international recognition of the quality of the ecological and humanitarian work done by Sadhana Forest in India and Haiti.”

(source: https://sadhanaforest.org/about-us/)

The Bridge

RESEARCH EXCHANGES IN AUROVILLE

Auroville is the largest and longest-standing intentional community in the world, practically researching into the evolutionary potential of humankind, developing award-winning transformational practices across fields of culture, economics, governance, education, environment, and health, recognized by UNESCO, the Indian Government, and major industries such as Tata. Visiting researchers can bridge this future-facing body of experimentation with developments in their fields worldwide, for the benefit of humanity as a whole.

WHO WE ARE

The Bridge promotes exchange between Auroville and visiting researchers similarly dedicated to the progress of human society.
We curate presentations and forums that facilitate exchange and the intiation of collaborative projects between Aurovilian and visiting experts.

WHO ARE YOU?

Are you an Aurovilian or visiting expert – in any field? We invite you to offer a presentation of your work.
Contact: thebridge@auroville.org.in
Are you an Auroville community member, volunteer, or visitor? You are welcome to attend our public events series!

Wasteless

Waste is a serious and growing global problem. The way we use and discard it is quickly destroying the earth and damaging our health faster than most people realise. Our planet can’t handle it, and neither can we.

Presently, when we think of waste we follow a linear model. A product is created, we purchase it and, when we’ve used it, we throw away whatever’s left. However, this approach generates an amazing amount of ‘unseen’ waste long before consumers touch it. Conservative experts claim that each kilo of garbage we dispose of in our bins produces 40 kilos of waste upstream (extraction, production and distribution).

After waste is generated, it is typically transported from our lives without much thought. For us, it’s ‘out of sight, out of mind’. For our public systems, it’s a nuisance to be dealt with cheaply and quickly. For future generations, it’s one of the biggest mistakes we are making.

We urgently need to raise awareness, change behaviour and inspire an estimated 7 billion+ people to generate less waste.

(Source: wastelessindia.org)

Litfin, Karen

Karen Litfin, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of political science at the University of Washington. She received her Ph.D. from UCLA in 1992. Karen’s first two books were Ozone Discourses: Science and Politics in Global Environmental Cooperation (Columbia University Press, 1994) and The Greening of Sovereignty in World Politics(MIT Press, 1998). She has also written on the politics of earth remote sensing; the political implications of Gaia Theory; the relationship between climate science and politics; the ecological politics of sacrifice; the global ecovillage movement; and contemplative pedagogical practices. For links to some of these publications, please click on “Research” tab.

Karen’s latest book, Ecovillages: Lessons for Sustainable Community, traces her yearlong journey to ecovillages around the world in language that is at once intellectually and emotionally engaging. The book explores these micro-laboratories of deep sustainability through four broad windows—ecology, economics, community, and consciousness—or E2C2, and gleans their lessons for a viable human future at every scale, from the neighborhoods to cities to countries to global governance. Click here for her video.

In her teaching, Karen takes an innovative “person/planet politics” approach rooted in two questions: What does it mean to come of age at the dawn of the Anthropocene, as we learn that prevailing institutions, practices and values are unraveling the tapestry of life? And how does one serve as a mentor under these conditions? Karen is currently working on a book based upon her twenty years of experience with contemplative pedagogical practices in environmental and global education.

taken from https://www.polisci.washington.edu/people/karen-litfin

Berkana Institute

The Berkana Institute and our partners share the clarity that whatever the problem, community is the answer. We prepare for an unknown future by creating strong & sustainable relationships, by wisely stewarding the earth’s resources and by building resilient communities. We rely on our experience that most human beings are caring, generous and want to be together. We have learned that people can get through anything as long as we’re together. Berkana was founded in 1991 to create communities of support and inquiry for those working to create a future of promise and possibility that benefits all people. We are based in the U.S. and operate as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

We work from an evolving, coherent theory of change. Since 1991, we have been learning from life (living systems) about how to create systems that are interdependent, adaptive and resilient. Everything we do is a conscious experiment to better understand two of life’s robust capacities: self-organization–life’s process for creating order (effectiveness) without control, and emergence–life’s means for creating system-wide change, taking things to scale. Read Lifecycle of Emergence: Using Emergence to Take Social Innovation to Scale by Margaret Wheatley and Deborah Frieze.

We work at the level of community. The Berkana Institute works in partnership with a rich diversity of people around the world who strengthen their communities by working with the wisdom and wealth already present in their people, traditions and environments. Berkana and our partners share the clarity that whatever the problem, community is the answer. We prepare for an unknown future by creating strong and sustainable relationships, by wisely stewarding the earth’s resources and by building resilient communities. We rely on our experience that most human beings are caring, generous and want to be together. We have learned that human beings can get through anything as long as we’re together.

We focus on four key activities. In many ways, Berkana’s work is quite straightforward. We name trailblazing leaders and communities, connect them to one another, nourish them with relationships, learning, resources, and support, and illuminate their stories as important examples of the future taking place right now

Sustainability Institute

The Sustainability Institute (SI) was established in Lynedoch Ecovillage in 1999 to provide a space for people to explore an approach to creating a more equitable society.

At the core of the SI’s work has been finding ways of living that sustain rather than destroy the eco-system within which all society is embedded. Our focus on children led to the founding of the Creche, now called the Lynedoch Childrens House, and AfterCare programmes. Our partnership with the School of Public Leadership at the University of Stellenbosch built up our Masters and PhD programmes in Sustainable Development.

Today, the SI is an international living and learning centre providing learning experiences in ecology, community and spirit.

Our learning programmes start in the Lynedoch Childrens House, are extending through our partnership with SPARK Schools in Lynedoch, are practically oriented in our Learning for Sustainability FET College and promote both research and practice through our University of Stellenbosch degrees. Our research and practice maintains a strong focus on sustainable African futures, through our student and faculty research and our growing research consulting programme.

We are looking to build our understanding and learning in core areas we recognise as critical in supporting the transition to equitable, just and thriving futures.

Our focus on flourishing food systems, social innovation, optimal resource flows and transformative learning from birth, supported by meaningful partnerships, will continue through embedded and relevant research, teaching and practice.

Creation Justice Ministries

Creation Justice Ministries (formerly the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program) represents the creation care and environmental justice policies of major Christian denominations throughout the United States. We work in cooperation with 38 national faith bodies including Protestant denominations and Orthodox communions as well as regional faith groups, and congregants to protect and restore God’s Creation.

Reclaiming Our Lives, Reclaiming Our Earth – A WORKSHOP FOR WOMEN WORKING TOWARDS CONSCIOUSNESS

In these deeply polarized times, we feel the wounds on the body politic, the body of the earth, and our own bodies, all at once.  It is ever more important that we come together as women, allow all these wounds to breathe, and, finding their beauty as well as their pain, let them germinate into something entirely new, born to us and to our communities.

Every year we work with a myth or fairy tale, because tapping into archetypal wisdom deepens our understanding of ourselves and our world.  This year we will be examining the Norwegian tale Prince Lindworm, the tale of a queen who gives birth to boy twins, one human and one a serpent.  She conveniently puts the birth of the serpent twin out of her mind, and when he comes of age he challenges her entire kingdom to examine its “forgetfulness.”  The results are dramatic, and transformative.

Please join us at Menla Retreat Center (http://menla.us), Phoenicia, New York, April 3-8, 2018 where, through body work, dreamwork, meditation and the expressive arts, we will investigate what remains hidden in our unconscious and bring it to light, in the warm embrace of our women’s circle.  Please register at www.reclaimingourlives.com.  Scholarships are available for first-time attendees.

April 3-8, 2018

Michael Meade Mosaic Voices

Mosaic is a network of artists, activists, community builders, healers, and spiritual teachers working in innovative ways to develop cross-cultural alliances, mentoring relationships, and forms of community healing.

Amid the rattling of cultural institutions and radical changes in nature, it may be time to turn again to valuable traditional methods of cultural healing and individual mentoring. Shaping new forms from separate, estranged, or even broken pieces is a dynamic remedy for the personal isolation and spiritual dislocation that increasingly characterize modern life. The creative act of finding and fitting together the divergent yet necessary elements of a diverse culture can produce “moments of wholeness” in times of great uncertainty.

 

Tarayana Foundation

The Foundation works in remote, rural villages to bring about holistic community growth and development serving the needy communities. The Foundation serves to bridge the gaps between larger national initiatives and local grassroots requirements. It focuses on social mobilization, capacity building and empowerment processes wherein communities make the main decisions for change they want effected in their villages.

The difficult terrain and the scattered nature of our communities make it very challenging for many communities to access social services and markets. The incremental cost of reaching the benefits of development is particularly challenging for remote and isolated communities. Tarayana Foundation with its focus on grassroots development lends itself well in serving the small and remote communities, one community at a time. Tarayana strives to improve rural livelihoods by promoting participation in mainstream development initiatives and enhancing income generating activities. Social mobilization and empowerment of local communities to take charge of developmental initiatives in their own localities have also gained importance over the years.

Faith in Place

In order to inspire as many people of faith as possible to take action with significant environmental impacts, Faith in Place’s programs are designed to be adaptable and engaging. We respect theological and social diversity and strive to make our programs relevant to faithful people of any religion, age, race, and socio-economic class.

In living out our principles, we often host conversations on race and the environment, and many of our programs have been created out of ideas that emerged in these discussions. Faith in Place works for all people of all faiths throughout Illinois, helping each faith community apply their own unique culture, history, context, and theology with practical steps for them to better care for the Earth.

Urban Adamah

Urban Adamah is an educational farm and community center in Berkeley, California, that integrates the practices of Jewish tradition, sustainable agriculture, mindfulness and social action to build loving, just and sustainable communities.

Wilderness Torah

Wilderness Torah awakens and celebrates the earth-based traditions of Judaism to nourish the connections between self, community, earth, and Spirit.

We create pluralistic, multi-generational community celebrations to reconnect us to the earth-based traditions of Judaism.

Center for Whole Communities

Our work began on a hillside in Vermont in 2003, stewarded by the vision and hard work of founders Peter Forbes and Helen Whybrow. The manifestation of the retreat center and Whole Thinking program was made possible with the help of many people, specifically CWC’s founding board: Gil Livingston, John Elder, Danyelle O’Hara, Torri Estrada, Diana Wright and Scott Chaskey.

Based at Knoll Farm for over a decade, we hosted hundreds of people in our Whole Thinking retreats and workshops. Over time, we saw a need to evolve our mission and scope to serve people in diverse communities where they live, and to move beyond our bucolic space. We set out to explore doing our work in other parts of the country and began a conscious leadership transition that would allow the work to evolve with integrity to serve a more diverse constituency. Our 2006 statement on Land, Race, Power, and Privilege documents our aspirations to be a diverse, multicultural organization that served people across sectors, differences, and geographies.

In 2010 we developed our Breakthrough Vision which set in motion a transition of leadership and methodology to further diversify our organization and to better serve change-makers in working in urban, suburban and rural communities across the country.

Fueled by our new vision, Center for Whole Communities rapidly expanded our work from the hillside in Vermont to leading retreats and workshops in Washington D.C., New Mexico, Ontario, Colorado, Maine, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, California, Michigan, British Columbia and New Jersey, New Hampshire, Maryland, and New York City.  We have successfully evolved our work to engage more collaboratively with organizations and communities in the places where they live and work.

In the winter of 2015 we moved to our current office in Burlington, Vermont in the ecotone of the Burlington city-scape and the waters of Lake Champlain.

Spiritual Ecology

Spiritual Ecology is a spiritual response to our present ecological crisis.

It is a developing field that joins ecology and environmentalism with the awareness of the sacred within creation. It calls for responses to environmental issues that include spiritual awareness and/or practice. The principles of spiritual ecology are simple: In order to resolve such environmental issues as depletion of species, global warming, and over-consumption, humanity must examine and reassess our underlying attitudes and beliefs about the earth, and our spiritual as well as physical responsibilities toward the planet. Thus, ecological renewal and sustainability necessarily depends upon spiritual awareness and an attitude of responsibility.

 

Spiritual Ecology is an initiative of Kalliopeia Foundation.

Association for Tribal Heritage

The teachings of our ancestors give us a way of life that allows us to be personally fulfilled and helpful to our families and communities.  

The Association for Tribal Heritage is dedicated to supporting the Native American traditions in a global society.  We believe Native American communities can bridge the two worlds and live a traditional way of life, while expanding the horizons of this modern world.

EcoDharma

The Eco-Dharma Centre is situated in a beautiful and wild part of the Catalan Pyrenees. We offer courses, events and retreats which support the realisation of our human potential and the development of an ecological consciousness honouring our mutual belonging within the web of life – drawing on the Buddhist Dharma and the emerging ecological paradigms of our time.

Our courses and retreats take place in a context of sustainable low-impact living, closely woven within the web of elemental nature. These meditation retreats, study seminars and training camps are intended to help people to empower themselves to make changes in themselves and the world consistent with a life-affirming vision.

We seek to develop practices which honour the inseparability of the transformation of the self and the world; to support the shift from a destructive industrial growth society to a life-affirming future; to contribute to the creation of a movement of renewal and resistance; to evolve spiritual practice where courageous compassion and a deepening realisation of our radical interconnectedness helps us to live in solidarity with life.

Akademie für Suffizienz

Die Akademie bietet Raum und Gelegenheit zum Lernen und Erfahren. BesucherInnen sind eingeladen, Wissen und Können aufzunehmen, anzuwenden und weiterzugeben. Ebenso gibt es hier Raum und Zeit für Denkprozesse, für die Reflektion eingeübter Gewohnheiten und für das Hinterfragen verfestigter Vorstellungen.

Contemplative Sustainable Futures

Humanity is facing increasingly complex environmental and sustainability challenges. Current coordination mechanisms, problem-solving strategies, and modes of scientific inquiry, teaching and learning appear insufficient to address these challenges. As a result, inner transition (embodied in notions such as mindfulness and compassion) is emerging as a potential new area of exploration. The “Contemplative Sustainable Futures Program” was set up to explore this new area and create space and opportunities for learning, networking and knowledge development on this topic. In this context, special attention is given to the issue of – what we call –  ‘mindful climate adaptation and risk reduction’.

taken from https://www.lucsus.lu.se/research/urban-governance/contemplative-sustainable-futures

Wamsler, Christine

Christine is an expert in sustainable city development with focus on inclusive climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction/ management, climate policy mainstreaming, urban resilience and transformation.

Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies LUCSUS

The research at LUCSUS focuses on sustainability challenges such as water conflicts, food security, land use changes and urban transformation – and is often conducted in international cooperation. We have a strong international research profile through the centre’s involvement in the Earth System Governance Project and by the appointment as a Right Livelihood College. We also coordinate the Linnaeus program LUCID (Lund University Centre of Excellence for Integration of Social and Natural Dimensions of Sustainability).