Featured in the Garrison Institute Newsletter Autumn 2008
The Initiative on Transformational Ecology works to reframe and solve human-caused ecological problems affecting life on earth through a more holistic understanding of the world as an interconnected web of life, informed by modern discoveries of psychology and ecology, and energized by the passion that lies at the root of successful social movements. It moves beyond current approaches to problem-solving based primarily upon scientific research, law and politics, to a more integrative approach, bringing together networks of people with shared values to create change that resonates throughout our culture.
“We are at the most critical moment in human history…Are we going to claim our truth force, our homo sapiens' vital force? This is the vital force of the legacy of Gandhi, of King, and of all future generations, who are here present with us, asking for that vital force of the universe, the earth, and the human community to go into the future as one sacred community.”
—Mary Evelyn Tucker
This spring we launched our Satyagraha Project, exploring how the nonviolent thought tradition—especially Gandhi’s satyagraha or “truth force,” but also Martin Luther King, Jr., Emerson and Thoreau—inspired radical social transformation, and how it might help transform climate change. You can read news coverage and view online video of our April 2008 event, including performances by Philip Glass and Odetta, and presentations by thought and movement leaders, at www.garrisoninstitute.org. The Satyagraha Project continues with more dialogue and planned actions for 2009.
Ongoing, by-invitation retreats at the Garrison Institute convene prominent leaders from diverse backgrounds to create new frameworks and support new forms of cooperative, multi-sector action on climate change. For example we are working with the Urban Land Institute to plan a 2009 retreat for leaders in real estate development whose work can help build communities with lower climate and environmental impacts.
The Hudson River Project (HRP) works with diverse congregations, environmental and civic groups, and residents throughout the Hudson River bioregion. It fosters inclusive, values-based environmental discourse, “greening” of houses of worship and the invocation of spirituality and ethics towards a healthier, more sustainable Hudson River environment.
What Is Transformational Ecology?
Transformational Ecology is both a form of analysis and explanation that recognizes the limitations of existing environmental activism, and an active method of problem-solving. It embodies the systems-based worldview, which comprehends the deeply interdependent nature of environmental dilemmas, and uses integrative approaches to both thought and action that transform the way that humans relate to each other and to the natural world. Put another way, Transformational Ecology rejects the Cartesian split between mind and matter….
The above is an excerpt from a new essay on the theory and practice of Transformational Ecology posted at www.garrisoninstitute.org
In January 2008 HRP held an advance screening and discussion of the new documentary RENEWAL, which depicts the greening work of diverse faith groups, from Evangelicals fighting mountaintop renewal in Appalachia to GreenFaith’s work to help install solar panels and reduce waste streams in houses of worship in New Jersey. We are currently setting up on-site screenings of RENEWAL for congregations and faith groups throughout our region; screening requests have come to us from as far away as Africa.
HRP is planning a series of 2009 events in conjunction with the celebration of the Hudson-Fulton- Champlain Quadricentennial 1609- 2009, a statewide celebration of the Hudson River. Our events address ways of securing the Hudson's environmental future as a vital part of celebrating and preserving its heritage.
Contact the Transformational Ecology Initiative.