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Making “Ecological Civilization” a Household Name

Heady and heavy, mixed in a crucible of scary, and served with a measure of hope … and a catch: such was the conference I attended a few years ago called “Seizing an Alternative: Toward an Ecological Civilization.” 

The “crucible of scary” we get, the usual litany that drives a sense of social, economic, and environmental urgency born of numbers in the natural world going the wrong way: CO2 concentrations, for example, soaring past 400 ppm on the way to … what; summer temperatures setting new records month after month; weather weirding everywhere. Rising temperatures. The shifting pH of the oceans. Melting ice. An indifferent public. Unresponsive leaders. Transnationals filling their coffers while they can—the usual stuff. As Rufus Jones once said, our situation is “horse high, bull strong, and hog tight.”

Still, a measure of hope (though with a catch) hovers around the edges and seeps through the cracks in what passes for “the way things are,” for during this brief moment, science and philosophy, religion and theology, cultures ancient and modern, Eastern and Western, shared a common stage, reimagining and reinventing nearly everything. In other words, a mix of peoples and disciplines comfortably together, together providing the leadership out of “scary” and toward hope … with a catch.

The catch, of course, is that reversing numbers going the wrong way takes a lot of work in multiple arenas simultaneously. 

I know, it never seems to end, the work, and while the tendency is to run away and hide, might I suggest an alternative:  making “Ecological Civilization” part of your household conversation. To get the hang of it, might I then also suggest you give a look at the websites for The Institute for Ecological Civilization and the Central Coast Center for Ecological Civilization of which I am a part. 

Together, they offer new words and ideas, a different approach to life together on the one planet we all call home and the work that lies ahead to fulfill its promise and hope.

The last word, hope … but with a catch.

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