According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Toward Ecological Community & Civilization in Process Thought



As always I seem to be playing a little catch up with major events happening right under the bubble of economic/political news-events I never hear about or see. So here again I find another series of amazing discussions going on all around me while I am absorbed in my little worlds far, far away!

Not many years ago I obtained a Master Naturalist certification through Michigan State University's Community Extension School in which I became better acquainted with the green (land) and blue (water) ecological organizations in my area - locally, publicly, educationally, and in civic-minded townships, cities, and rural municipalities.

Certainly the linkages between these groups can be immense and wide as they are occurring everywhere at once not only in West Michigan where I live but across North, Central and South America. I found this to be true again when my wife and I travelled south to Mexico for a short vacation. There I saw glimpses of how the ancient Mayan people of the Yucatan Peninsula were trying to care for the land and water they depend despite the deep interruptions occurring across major commercial corridors of development. Like the efforts of many citizens in West Michigan, we hope to make an impact as we can upon the lives and consciousness of our fellow neighbors, communities and industrialists.

During the latter half of 2017 last year I began posting many articles on Process Thought in its derivative forms of Process Philosophy and Process Theology begun under the thinking of Alfred North Whitehead at the start of the 20th century. Much of this thinking is now being applied fundamentally towards what is known as "ecological societies" committed to "saving the earth" by re-envisioning how postmodern civilizations might live in harmony with one another as well as care for the precious resources we must share and cultivate with one another known as air, land and water. I find this heartening against the hard, cold facts of America's current Trumpian government's purposeful actions of denying and destroying everything necessary to restoring good earth practices back into our sphere/realm of influences and with our trading neighbors in general.

And so it is with great encouragement that I discovered a group of internationalists thinking along these same lines examining our behaviors and compacts with one another - how we might begin to improve our practices of consumption, reduce our ecological footprint upon this earth, and what it might mean to integrate human civilization into regional - if not global - green/blue communities.

Below is a list of topics and titles from the best of Whiteheadian thinking on ecological civilizations. Here is a world of envisioned alternative realities occurring from the best minds and hearts of progressive, process-based thinking by global citizens committed to humanity's best self rather than its too-often uglier side showcased in industrial pollution, oppressive governments, or nationalised militarization.

Yes. There can be another way. Another vision. A better reality than the one this world has made for itself. As a Christian I believe it begins with Jesus by following his code of love and goodwill. And from this ethic of belief to extend it both forwards and backwards into the recreation of renewed biotic communities of this earth we inhabit through the means of a Land Ethic once beautifully described by Aldo Leopold as inspiration to the efforts of all those who would heal the harms and wounds we have left upon so much of what we have touched. These are the grand visions and deep burdens of  people around the world. Visions and burdens to see practiced by humanity in its reforming legacies of international cooperation, communication, peace, love and harmonious care for one another and this old earth.

R.E. Slater
March 11, 2018



Information on this year's 2018 Ecological Civilization Conference:

Ecological Civilization and Symbiotic Development


Conference Purpose

It is no secret that both China and the world are facing many disturbing problems today, and that we are heading in the direction of an ecological catastrophe. Finding an alternative to the current form of modernization has become an urgent issue. What are 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 destroying the earth’s ecosystems? Are there alternatives to the Western civilization that has formed the modern era? Is a new civilization—an ecological civilization―possible? What is “ecological civilization”? What are its philosophical foundations and its social, political, and economic implications? What kinds of kinds of sustainable practices are emerging today that may help us to create an ecological society? What kind of role can China play in creating an ecological civilization? The 12th International Forum on Ecological Civilization will contribute fresh reflection on these burning questions from an organic, relational, non-dualistic perspective that is far more congenial to classical Asian thinking in general, Chinese in particular.

Cosponsors:

This Conference will be hosted by the Institute for Postmodern Development of China, EcoCiv, the Center for Process Studies, Pitzer College, Claremont Graduate University, The South China Institute of Environmental Science, the Ministry of Environmental Protection of China, Huanghe Science and Technology College, and others.

Plenary speakers:

John B. Cobb, Jr., David Korten, Holmes Rolston , Philip Clayton, Steven Rowe, Clifford Cobb and others will speak at this conference


Main Topics:

I. Core Theoretical Issues concerning Ecological Civilization
  • What is “ecological civilization”?
  • What are its philosophical foundations?
  • What are its social, political, and economic implications?
  • Ecological Civilization and Symbiotic Development
  • Ecological Civilization and Organic Thinking
  • Marxist Ecological Thought
  • Constructive Postmodernism and Ecological Marxism
  • Organic Marxism and Ecological Marxism
  • Process Philosophy and Ecological Civilization
  • Chinese Traditional Culture and Ecological Civilization
II. Constructing Ecological Civilization
  • How can we create an ecological civilization?
  • Ecological Civilization and Green Development
  • Ecological Civilization and Eco-cities
  • Ecological Civilization and Ecological Agriculture
  • Ecological Civilization and Ecological Economy
  • Ecological Civilization and Green Community
  • The Construction of Ecological Civilization in China
  • Constructing Ecological Civilization around the World
  • How to Tell the Story of Ecological Civilization: The Role of Ecological Literature
  • Ecological Civilization and Green Language
III. Ecological Civilization and Education
  • Ecological Civilization and Education Reform
  • Ecological Civilization and Educational Innovations
  • Ecological Civilization and Ecological Education
  • Ecological Civilization and Education with Roots
  • Ecological Civilization and Organic Education
Call for Papers

If you are committed to creating an ecological civilization and have interest in any of the above topics, you are invited to contribute a paper to the conference. Please submit a 1500 word abstract of your proposed conference paper. The deadline to submit your abstract is Feb. 28, 2018.

Contact Info:

Institute for Postmodern Development of China, USA
Email: eco-conference@postmodernchina.orgTel:909-450-1658
Fax: 909-621-2760



Toward Ecological Civilization Series

This series proposes that the work of Alfred North Whitehead provides the best alternative to the pervasive worldviews that now threaten our civilization with catastrophe. His comprehensive and rigorous philosophy provides the more organic, relation, integrated, nondual, and processive conceptuality needed to support the emergence of an ecological civilization.

This series is connected with the 10th International Whitehead Conference, held June 4-7, 2015, in Claremont, California. The conference, called “Seizing an Alternative,” convened international presenters and work groups from every major field in the sciences and humanities to explore a sustainable way forward for the Earth and its inhabitants. Continuing the work of the conference is Pando Populus–a platform created as a forum for events, discussion, education, and community – sometimes in physical, always in virtual, space.

Books in this series:

Organic Marxism, Philip Clayton and Justin Heinzekehr
Theological Reminiscences, John B. Cobb, Jr.
Integrative Process, Margaret Stout and Jeannine M. Love
Replanting Ourselves in Beauty, Jay McDaniel & Patricia Adams Farmer, eds.
For Our Common Home, John B. Cobb, Jr., & Ignacio Castuera, eds.
Whitehead Word Book, John B. Cobb, Jr.
Educating for an Ecological Civilization, Marcus Ford and Stephen Rowe, eds.
Socialism in Process, Justin Heinzekehr and Philip Clayton, eds.



Ecological civilization

Ecological civilization is the final goal of environmental reform within a given society. It implies that the changes required in response to global climate disruption are so extensive as to represent another form of human civilization, one based on ecological principles. Broadly construed, ecological civilization involves a synthesis of economic, educational, political, agricultural, and other societal reforms toward sustainability.[1]
Although the term was first coined in the 1980s, it did not see widespread use until 2007, when “ecological civilization” became an explicit goal of the Communist Party of China (CPC).[2][3] In April 2014, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and the International Ecological Safety Collaborative Organization founded a sub-committee on ecological civilization.[4] Ecological civilization emphasizes the importance of a long-term perspective on the current climate crisis, the need for major environmental reforms, and the need to reimagine the nature of society after these reforms.[1]
History
In 1984, former Soviet Union environment experts proposed the term “Ecological Culture” (экологической культуры) in an article entitled “Ways of Fostering Ecological Culture in Individuals under the Conditions of Mature Socialism" which was published in Scientific Communism, Moscow, vol. 2.[5] A summary of this article was published in the Chinese newspaper the Guangming Daily, where the notion of ecological culture was translated into Chinese as 生态文明 (shēngtài wénmíng), or ecological civilization.[6]
Two years later, the concept of ecological civilization was picked up in China, and was first used by Ye Qianji (1909–2017), an agricultural economist, in 1987.[7][8] Professor Ye defined ecological civilization by drawing from the ecological sciences and environmental philosophy.[9]
The first time the phrase “ecological civilization” was used as a technical term in an English-language book was in 1995.[10] Roy Morrison, an environmentalist, coined the phrase in his book Ecological Democracy, writing that “An ecological civilization is based on diverse lifeways sustaining linked natural and social ecologies.”[11]
The term is found more extensively in Chinese discussions beginning in 2007.[2][3] In 2012, the Communist Party of China (CPC) included the goal of achieving an ecological civilization in its constitution, and it also featured in its five-year plan.[1][12] In the Chinese context, the term generally presupposes the framework of a “constructive postmodernism,” as opposed to an extension of modernist practices or a “deconstructive postmodernism,” which stems from the deconstruction of Jacques Derrida.[1]
Both “ecological civilization” and “constructive postmodernism” have been associated with the process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead.[1] David Ray Griffin, a process philosopher and professor at Claremont School of Theology, first used the term “constructive postmodernism” in his 1989 book, Varieties of Postmodern Theology.[13]
The largest international conference held on the theme “ecological civilization” (Seizing an Alternative: Toward an Ecological Civilization) took place at Pomona College in June 2015, bringing together roughly 2,000 participants from around the world and featuring such leaders in the environmental movement as Bill McKibbenVandana ShivaJohn B. Cobb, Jr.Wes Jackson, and Sheri Liao.[14]
Since 2015, the Chinese discussion of ecological civilization is increasingly associated with an “organic” form of Marxism.[1] “Organic Marxism” was first used by Philip Clayton and Justin Heinzekehr in their 2014 book, Organic Marxism: An Alternative to Capitalism and Ecological Catastrophe.[15] The book, which was translated into Chinese and published by the People’s Press in 2015, describes ecological civilization as an orienting goal for the global ecological movement.[16]
A defence of ecological civilization as the ultimate goal of humanity, has been mounted by Arran Gare in The Philosophical Foundations of Ecological Civilization: A Manifesto for the Future[17] which was published in 2016.

See also

References


  1. Zhihe Wang, Huili He, and Meijun Fan, "The Ecological Civilization Debate in China: The Role of Ecological Marxism and Constructive Postmodernism—Beyond the Predicament of Legislation", last modified 2014, Monthly Review, accessed November 1, 2016.
  2. Zhang Chun, "China's New Blueprint for an 'Ecological Civilization'", last modified September 30, 2015, The Diplomat, accessed November 1, 2016.
  3. James Oswald, "China turns to ecology in search of ‘civilisation’", last modified August 3, 2016, Asian Studies Association of Australia, accessed November 1, 2016.
  4. Zhu Guangyao, "Ecological Civilization: A national strategy for innovative, concerted, green, open and inclusive development", last modified March 2016, United Nations Environment Programme, accessed November 1, 2016.
  5. Липицкий, В. С., "Пути формирования экологической культуры личности в условиях зрелого социализма," Вестн. Моск. ун-та. Сер. 12, Теория научного коммунизма 2 1984: p43.
  6. 张擅, “在成熟社会主义条件下培养个人生态文明的途径,” 光明日报, 18th February 1985.
  7. 中国生态农业奠基人108岁叶谦吉教授在重庆仙逝
  8. Arran Gare, [1], in Chromatikon V: Yearbook of Philosophy in Process, ed. Michel Weber and Ronny Desmet (Louvain-la-Neuve: Presses universitaires de Louvain, 2009): 167.
  9. Jiahua Pan, China's Environmental Governing and Ecological Civilization (Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag GmbH, 2016), 35.
  10. Jiahua Pan, China's Environmental Governing and Ecological Civilization (Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag GmbH, 2016), 34.
  11. Roy Morrison, Ecological Democracy (Boston: South End Press, 1995), 11.
  12. John B. Fullerton, "China: Ecological Civilization Rising?", last modified May 2, 2015, Huffington Post, accessed November 1, 2016.
  13. John B. Cobb, Jr., "Constructive Postmodernism", 2002, Religion Online, accessed November 1, 2016. See David Ray Griffin, William A. Beardslee, and Joe Holland, Varieties of Postmodern Theology (Albany, State University of New York Press, 1989)
  14. Herman Greene, "Re-Imagining Civilization as Ecological: Report on the 'Seizing an Alternative: Toward an Ecological Civilization' Conference", last modified August 24, 2015, Center for Ecozoic Societies, accessed November 1, 2016.
  15. "Spotlight: Organic Marxism, China's ecological civilization drive in spotlight at int'l conference", last modified May 1, 2016, Xinhua News Agency, accessed November 1, 2016. See Philip Clayton and Justin Heinzekehr, Organic Marxism: An Alternative to Capitalism and Ecological Catastrophe (Claremont: Process Century Press, 2014).
  16. Philip Clayton and Justin Heinzekehr, Organic Marxism: An Alternative to Capitalism and Ecological Catastrophe, trans. Xian Meng, Guifeng Yu, and Lixia Zhang (Beijing: The People's Press, 2015).
  17. Jhttps://www.routledge.com/The-Philosophical-Foundations-of-Ecological-Civilization-A-manifesto-for/Gare/p/book/9781138685765

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