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CES-Led Symposium with David Orr on the Long View in Addressing the Ecological Crisis

On April 1, 2017, EcoCiv and CES convened a major symposium at the home of Steven Knapp, President of George Washington University in Washington, DC. Participants included leaders of environmental organizations, policy experts, scholars, and activists. The symposium provided attendees an opportunity to step back from their day-to-day efforts to construct and implement sustainable policies to consider their work from the standpoint of the longer-term goal, an ecological civilization.

David Orr set the stage by highlighting evidence of climate change and demonstrating that global society is on a path toward social, economic, and political collapse as a result. Through backcasting–working backwards from the goal of an ecological society to guide decision-making today—participants were invited to think how their current work could be reoriented. CES will continue to work with EcoCiv to engage policy experts along with grassroots organizations to promote the social and cultural transition to ecological civilization.


David Orr (Featured Speaker) is Professor of Environmental Studies at Oberlin College. He is one of the most significant figures in environmental studies and philosophy of the last four decades. He has combined scholarship with community involvement and concrete projects in sustainable living.

Steven Knapp (Host), President, George Washington University.

Kathleen Merrigan, Executive Director of Sustainability, George Washington University; former US Deputy Secretary of Agriculture.

Frances Seymour, Distinguished Senior Fellow, World Resources Institute; Senior Advisor, David and Lucile Packard Foundation; former Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development; former Director General, Center for International Forestry Research.

Lisa Renstrom, Chair of the Board of Confluence Philanthropy; former President of the Sierra Club.

John Cavanagh, Executive Director, Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC.

Patrick Doherty Founder and principal in Long Haul Capital Groups; formerly Founder and Co-director, Strategic Innovation Lab at Case Western Reserve University.

Dan Vermeer, Founder and Director, Center for Energy, Development, and the Global Environment (EDGE) at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

Bob Perkowitz, Founder and President, ecoAmerica.

Meghan Chapple, Director, George Washington University’s Office of Sustainability

James Peacock, Kenan Professor of Anthropology and Professor of Comparative Literature Emeritus, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; former President of the American Anthropological Association.

Logan Malik, Student Leader, Fossil Free George Washington, and chemistry student at George Washington.

Philip Clayton (organizer), President, Toward Ecological Civilization (EcoCiv); Ingraham Professor at Claremont School of Theology.

Herman Greene (organizer), President, Center for Ecozoic Societies (CES).

Beth Singleton (coordinator), Project Manager, Toward Ecological Civilization (EcoCiv).

Marilyn Greenberg, Project Manager, Toward Ecological Civilization (EcoCiv)