SOCIAL FAIRNESS & ECOLOGICAL INTEGRITY

A Workshop on Strategy and Action For a Moral Economy

Quaker Center, Ben Lomond CA, March 4 – 6, 2011

A description of the workshop was published in Quaker Eco-Bulletin. More workshops like this are planned.

Sponsored by the Moral Economy Project of Quaker Institute for the Future (QIF) and
The Ecoberries Affinity Group, Strawberry Creek Monthly Meeting, Berkeley CA

Overview

We have serious environmental problems and growing societal problems that are undermining our society. These problems are intertwined and cannot be solved in isolation but only by adopting new policies that address them in a coherent and coordinated way. With our Quaker values of integrity, equality and community we can help lead the dramatic changes in society that are necessary.

Our political, economic, and financial systems fail to provide equitable access to the means of life for all people or to sustain the long-term health of Earth’s life support systems. Research shows that the greater the degree of inequality in society, the higher the incidence of societal dysfunction and breakdown.  The same political and economic systems that institutionalize inequality also institutionalize ecological destruction by insisting on unlimited and inequitable economic growth on a finite Earth.  

Our challenge is to work toward development of more equitable societies while maintaining the ecological integrity of our planet. We cannot achieve either goal without transforming the political and economic institutions that support business as usual. How can Quakers contribute?  Drawing on the elements of Quaker heritage that inspire and guide us, we will focus our strategic inquiry and action planning around the following questions:

* What are the common roots of the environmental and socioeconomic crises of today?

* What kind of strategic changes should we advocate?

* How can Quaker witness and action become more effective in helping to make these changes possible?

The workshop will incorporate short focused critiques that move into a detailed and practical visioning of priorities for change, and then into action planning for effective Quaker engagement on the front lines of societal transformation.

Workshop Themes

1.The heritage of Quaker concern and action on social and economic inequity.

2.The societal effects of inequality: Reviewing the research, utilizing the power of stories, staking out public policy.

3.The crisis in our political economy – ecological overshoot, political corruption, financial breakdown, entrenched inequity: Understanding the interlocking elements of the crisis, identifying paths of coherent reform and transformation, plotting courses of Quaker action.

4.The spirit and practice of moral response and direct action: Creating a persistent moral voice, identifying critical points of intervention, effective action on public policy.

Presented and facilitated by:

George Lakey – Social change educator and trainer. Founder of Training for Change and Earth Quaker Action Team. (Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting)

Keith Helmuth – Community economic development practitioner. Contributing author to Right Relationship: Building A Whole Earth Economy. Secretary of the Board of QIF. (New Brunswick Monthly Meeting, Canadian Yearly Meeting)

Sandra Lewis – Psychologist. Member of the Ecoberries Affinity Group. (Strawberry Creek Monthly Meeting, Pacific Yearly Meeting)

Shelley Tanenbaum – Environmental research consultant. Clerk of the QIF Board. Member of the Ecoberries Affinity Group. (Strawberry Creek Monthly Meeting, Pacific Yearly Meeting

Phil Emmi – Professor of Urban Planning, University of Utah. Member of the Board and Clerk of the QIF Research Committee. (Salt Lake City Monthly Meeting, Intermountain Yearly Meeting)

To register, contact Ben Lomond Quaker Center at www.quakercenter.org.

We have prepared a list of recent articles, videos and books on these subjects — not as required reading, but as references for what is available.

A Weekend of Critical Examination, Picturing the Future, and Action Planning