If there is one thing that we’d like to spotlight these days, it’s change makers and organizations that are doing really great and innovative work across the country. Enter: Ecologistics, a nonprofit organization based in the Central Coast of California whose mission is to “To create a resilient and healthy community for the residents of the California Central Coast that is environmentally and economically sustainable.” If that sounds boring or generic to you, it’s not.
First of all, we think everyone could use an introduction (or refresher course) on their value of deep ecology, which is squarely pitted against “shallow ecology” or environmentalism that is based solely on anthropocentric human survivalism.
Secondly, we’d love to see more “activist incubation” programs pop up around the country. Ecologistics has fiscal scholarships available for activists and visionaries who would like to implement progressive projects without filing for their own 501(c)(3)s. The company is able to act as an umbrella agency so that small projects can receive grants that are required to go to tax-exempt entities– acting as an intermediary that can support small groups and independent ideas.
The first of two videos that we have for you nature lovers this morning!
Some brief and interesting context for the information presented here: wolves did not disappear from the Yellowstone landscape by incident or historical coincidence. In fact, historians say that since nearly the beginning of westward expansion by European settlers, settlers and ranchers (whose cattle were at risk of being poached) engaged in what some historians call a “war with the wolf” that culminated in the early 20th century in a governement-sponsored nation-wide “wolf control” policy. The history involves mountains of wolf carcasses, canine bounty hunters, rifles, traps, and poison– tactics so widely supported to have included environmentalists like Teddy Roosevelt and John James Audubon. For more information on this, we recommend this piece from PBS.
Just goes to show that when it comes to the incredible fragile balance of ecosystems, we don’t know what we don’t know.
Interested in learning more about how these majestic canines shape the landscape of the park? There are great resources on Yellowstone’s website.
This video provides an in-depth look at the Baltimore food system. It tells this story through the eyes of numerous players, including a food warehouse worker, a grocery store owner, a local food historian, and activists trying to improve access to food in their schools and communities. Nine MICA students spent a school year working with their professor, Hugh Pocock, on BFED. CLF’s staff provided technical support to the students, helping them refine their research goals and identify key informants to interview. The students’ journey through their local food system — where supermarkets are scarce and diet-related diseases common — was an investigation of why the food system comes up short for many city residents. In the end, they find hope for a brighter food future in some unexpected places.
What: A holistic leadership development program for young North American faith leaders (we define “faith leader” broadly) who are exploring vocational issues focused in the areas of food justice, sustainable agriculture, climate change, and ecological resilience.
Why: There are too few leadership development opportunities for young faith leaders working on the issues posed by broken food systems, climate change, and ecological degradation, and yet these are issues that faith leaders and congregations need to confront head-on. Through this fellowship, the next generation of faith leaders will explore and deepen the inner resources needed to sustain their work. This program also provides an opportunity for emerging leaders to consider how they may further engage our pressing ecological issues, connect with other similarly committed leaders, and better tell the story of why this work matters for the life of congregations and people of faith.
Who: Young (age 40 and under) religious leaders who show exceptional promise. The 15 fellows selected will be people who already possess leadership experience in the program’s focal areas.
Where: At a quiet Franciscan retreat center in the North Carolina Piedmont, roughly 30 miles north of Greensboro, NC. The nearest airport is Piedmont Triad Int’l Airport (GSO). Volunteers from St. Francis Springs will shuttle people to and from the airport at no charge. Fellows will share a room with one other fellow. Single rooms are available for those who need special accommodations.
When: January 11 – 14, 2016. Fellows need to check in by 1pm on Monday, Jan. 11th and will be free to depart no earlier than the morning of Thursday, Jan. 14th. Fellows need to be present for the entire fellowship. Based on experience level and congruence with our program, several fellows will also be invited to lead a workshop at our annual five-day Food & Faith intensive retreat in June, which takes place in western North Carolina.