Limits of Growth

Nicole Foss

We are rapidly approaching a range of limits to growth, and these pose a fundamental challenge to our way of life. We cannot continue on the current trajectory and so must adapt to changing circumstances, notably the growing financial vulnerability. Community solutions are of the greatest importance in allowing us to serve our needs in ways that do not depend on failing centralized systems. Nicole will explore ways in which we may best address building a constructive future from the grass roots.

Enacting Commonomics: Law, Policy, and Cooperative Culture

Matt Stannard

Saving the planet means changing our everyday material practices. These changes must be encoded not only in our interpersonal and collective culture, but also in law and policy. Matt Stannard will discuss the process of materially empathetic construction of local ordinances and organic economic practices in the service of building a cooperative economy.

Synopsis of The End of the Line

Sellus Wilder

When two major energy companies teamed up to ship hazardous liquids from the northeast to the Gulf Coast, they didn't count on the resistance they would encounter in Kentucky. Join a bluegrassroots coalition of farmers, activists, constitutional conservatives, and religious order as they join together against the fracking industry to defeat the controversial Bluegrass Pipeline. 

This true story captured national headlines when a group of Kentucky nuns (the 'singing Sisters of Loretto') joined the fight with an inspiring act of resistance. The ensuing drama played out across farms and courtrooms across the commonwealth, eventually reaching the halls of the state legislature. 

This documentary has been made to help other communities recognize that grassroots efforts can succeed even in the face of impossible odds. It shares some of the tactics and strategies that worked against the Bluegrass Pipeline, and it ultimately makes a case for a global transition towards renewable energy

Stones as Mentors: Spiritual Ecotherapy

Tina Fields

As you face the big issues like climate change along with figuring out how to best live your own life, have you ever wished you had a wise elder around to give you perspective and advice? Engage in an ancient and powerful animistic practice that works with the oldest parts of the earth – stones – to gain insight into a life question. Participants will experience how the natural world can serve as spiritual advisor.

Fostering Nature Connections

Tina Fields

What encounters with animals, plants, places, weather or other parts of the living earth woke you up and ultimately led you to care about issues like climate change? Participants will explore their “ecological identities” through personal story telling and deep listening. Together, we will uncover some mysteries of how the natural world can serve as spiritual mentor.

Our Renewable Future

Richard Heinberg

Folks who pay attention to energy and climate issues are regularly treated to two competing depictions of society’s energy options.* On one hand, the fossil fuel industry claims that its products deliver unique economic benefits, and that giving up coal, oil, and natural gas in favor of renewable energy sources like solar and wind will entail sacrifice and suffering (this gives a flavor of their argument). Saving the climate may not be worth the trouble, they say, unless we can find affordable ways to capture and sequester carbon as we continue burning fossil fuels.

On the other hand, at least some renewable energy proponents tell us there is plenty of wind and sun, the fuel is free, and the only thing standing between us and a climate-protected world of plentiful, sustainable, “green” energy, jobs, and economic growth is the political clout of the coal, oil, and gas industries (here is a taste of that line of thought).

Which message is right? Will our energy future be fueled by fossils (with or without carbon capture technology), or powered by abundant, renewable wind and sunlight? Does the truth lie somewhere between these extremes—that is, does an “all of the above” energy future await us? Or is our energy destiny located in a Terra Incognita that neither fossil fuel promoters nor renewable energy advocates talk much about? As maddening as it may be, the latter conclusion may be the one best supported by the facts.

If that uncharted land had a motto, it might be, “How we use energy is as important as how we get it.”

Reduce & Reuse

MaryEllen Etienne

While recycling is an important part of the sustainability journey many municipalities and businesses that have reduced wasteful processes and implemented reuse systems first have realized the greatest savings. Join us to understand how to save money, reduce your environmental footprint, and make the best use of available resources with the first two R’s: "Reduce and Reuse". Learn how reuse can serve as the foundation for successful business ventures from a variety of local and national professionals with hands on experience. The session will cover reuse issues such as deconstruction, repair, creative reuse and the sharing economy.
Following this presentation, participants will be able to...
1) Understand the concepts of waste prevention and reuse.
2) Understand the triple bottom line benefits of reuse.
3) Understand how reuse factors into zero waste, green procurement and overall sustainability.

The One-Hundred-Year Plan

Jim Merkel

The One-Hundred-Year Plan film is a search for a path through turbulent times. We are the generation watching humanity devour earth.  Will we pass on a parched planet or figure out how to live within earth’s limits? Travel along to far-flung and unlikely places on a quest for a world that works for all.   

Currently the reins are in the hands of powerful corporate interests and governments. Through globalization, extreme extraction and land grabs our planet races toward catastrophe. Critical planetary boundaries are being exceeded leading to climate disruption, the 6th great extinction, grinding poverty and wars. Most leaders have no other plan but to grow the economy, stimulate consumerism, and stimulate couples to have more children--the very things that drive this crisis.

This film seeks to discover if a sustainable future is even possible and if so, what adaptations and practices would be necessary. The late systems thinker and author of The Limits to Growth, Donella Meadows, using extensive modeling suggested that humanity could avoid a dramatic collapse in the 21 century by having smaller families and footprints while using technology to reduce impact and enhance wellbeing.

Getting to Know our Wild Weeds: Teachers of Resilience

Nicole Manieri

The intention of this class is to empower participants with knowledge and experience in working with common weeds as vital sources of nutrition in preventative care. Fall is a great time for collecting roots! We will identify, learn the health-giving properties and basic processing techniques for various wild weeds. This includes beginner's instruction in herbal preparations. Participants will receive a packet of information. In this class, I come from a folk perspective that incorporates the tangible and intangible benefits of befriending these local allies.