On November 7 & 8, 2014, the University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus in Camrose, Alberta will play host to “Respecting the Land: Transition to a New Economy” (poster & brochure attached). This conference marks the third community-centered gathering aimed at public discussion of land use and responsibility for natural systems. The focus this time will be on practical and local examples of how we respect the land by living within the limits and gifts of the natural and human systems. This includes:
- how we produce and consume food in a way that cares for the soil, water, and air;
- how we advance beyond hydrocarbon energy by being efficient with remaining energy stores and transitioning smoothly to emerging alternative energies;
- how we support our economy by buying locally first;
- and how we nurture our human systems by creating vibrant, mixed-use, healthy communities.
A central feature of this conference will be round table discussions with more than 16 local experts in sustainable food production, energy efficiency, local business, and community development.
The transition to a new economy, which takes the limits and gifts of nature seriously and acknowledges climate change and the end of easily accessible hydrocarbon fuels, is a movement already underway. Transition towns are springing up in many parts of the world. Organic food production is on the rise. Alternative energy has become a financially viable option. Cities are distinguishing themselves by promoting public space and community connection.
While practical, external transitions are necessary; this won’t happen unless there is also an inner, spiritual change in our understanding of what the real wealth of life is. As long as we believe that endless economic growth will lead to happiness, we will not search for ways to reconnect to people, communities, and the land. By placing the care of the natural world, our communities, our families, and our own inner peace at the center of our economic decisions, we will learn to live lightly on the land.
This event is sponsored by the Chester Ronning Centre for the Study of Religion and Public Life, the Alberta Centre for Sustainable Rural Communities and the U of A’s Augustana Campus.
Early bird registration is open now and runs until October 31.