The Deep Ecology Collaboratory: A 3-day Environmental Conference

By Ted Hamilton, Ecologistics

I come to realize that mind is no

Other than mountains and rivers

And the great wide earth, the

Sun and the moon and the stars.


If you are concerned about the health of Earth’s biosphere and the threats to biodiversity, and want to take action to move things in a better direction, consider attending a 3-day environmental conference sponsored by Ecologistics, Inc.: The Deep Ecology Collaboratory.


Some of the greatest voices in the conservation movement will be on hand to address the most intractable threats to biodiversity on Earth: Climate Change, Extinction, Habitat Loss, Human Population Overshoot, and Globalization. The event is scheduled for October 21-23 2016 at Rancho El Chorro Nature School, a 250-acre natural preserve in the hills above San Luis Obispo.

We know that a fundamental shift of consciousness is essential in confronting our environmental woes, and this knowledge is implicit in our yearning for a radical redefinition of values required to turn our ubiquitous, market-centered, earth-pillaging corporate exploitation model, on its head.

Fortunately, we have better models that reverence the Earth and all her creatures. George Sessions, former Philosophy professor at Sierra College, points to one such philosophic shift that has been growing for some time within the environmental community, “The Long-range Deep Ecology movement emerged more or less spontaneously and informally as a philosophical and scientific social/political movement during the so-called Ecological Revolution of the 1960s. Its main concern has been to bring about a major paradigm shift- a shift in perception, values, and lifestyles- as a basis for redirecting the ecologically destructive path of modern industrial growth societies. Since the 1960s, the long-range Deep Ecology movement has been characterized philosophically by a move from anthropocentrism to ecocentrism, and by environmental activism.”

It is education, action, and creating an atmosphere of conviviality that is the main inspiration for this gathering; all three are equally important. So, plan on enjoying organic meals, micro-brews, and live music between the talks and strategizing workshops.

Our program begins Friday afternoon, Oct. 21 with Kelly Sorenson from the Ventana Wildlife Society talking about conserving California Condors and their habitat. Dave Foreman, a leading figure in the conservation movement, Earth First co-founder, and Director of the Rewilding Institute will give a “fireside” talk on Friday evening.

The agenda for Saturday, Oct. 22 includes a full day of talks, workshops, and music:

  • William Ryerson and Joe Bish from The Population Media Center discussing the impact of our global human population overshoot (see also Dave Foreman’s recent book, Manswarm, on this subject.)
  • Eileen Crist, noted writer (Gaia in Turmoil: Climate Change, Biodepletion, and Earth Ethics) and professor at Virginia Tech. will speak on ‘Freedom, Entitlement, and the Fate of the Nonhuman World.
  • Stephanie Mills, a longtime bioregionalist and NeoLuddite, contributor to scores of publications like Orion, Whole Earth Catalogue, and Resurgence, will speak on Bioregionalism: Keeping Faith with Nature and Place.
  • Bill McKibben, founder of and The Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College, speaking (via Skype) on ‘What Winning the Climate Change Battle Looks Like’ (see workshop following with a discussion of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby strategy to pass a revenue-neutral carbon tax and dividend and a report on local actions by 350SLO)
  • A live performance by the winner of the Protest Songwriter contest will be the cap to Saturday’s activities.

The last day of the conference, Sunday, Oct. 23 will start with a 9am walk through the Pennington Creek Biological Preserve led by noted writer and CalPoly professor, Matt Ritter. Next, Jerry Mander, Founder and Director of the International Forum on Globalization and noted author, will speak on how Capitalist economics and the negative role of (most) technological innovation continues to contribute to our environmental woes. Derrick Jensen, radical environmentalist, noted author, and host of Resistance Radio, will speak on themes from his recent book The Myth of Human Supremacy. The final segment of the Deep Ecology Collaboratory will feature Robert Gifford, editor of the Journal of Environmental Psychology, who will focus on pulling all the sessions together for the creation of a Deep Ecology Manifesto for Preserving our Planetary Commons. We plan to use Loomio, an easy to use online tool (a technological spinoff from the Occupy movement) to connect the conference with groups not able to attend, and involve them in the decision-making process in the creation of the Deep Ecology Manifesto.  

This gathering offers a unique opportunity for community activists, state and local officials, students, and anyone seeking to empower themselves to find new ways to take action to heal the planet, have fun, and make some new friends. For ticketing information and volunteer opportunities, please visit the Ecologistics website


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