16th International Forum on Ecological Civilization | 5th International Youth Forum on Ecological Civilization

May 25-27, 2023


Fully Online

News Coverage on the 2023 Claremont Eco Forum


2023 FOCUS

Advocates of ecological civilization believe that addressing the complex social and environmental problems facing humanity today requires transformation at the deepest levels—confronting core assumptions about what the world is like and what it means to be human, in order to guide a restructuring of the way human life is organized to be more sustainable and equitable. But how does deep transformation occur? That is the central question of this year's International Forum on Ecological Civilization. Over the course of three days, we'll explore strategies for transforming self, systems, and society that can be employed to create an ecological civilization.



Does changing the world begin within? Many experts believe that social transformation begins with inner transformation. From spirituality to psychology and more, on this day of the Claremont Eco Forum we'll engage proposals from experts on how to change hearts and minds for flourishing.



Does deep transformation for a better world happen top-down or bottom-up? Both? Neither? Is it simply about changing laws, replacing people in power, or is more required? Taking a look at contemporary social movements and theories of systems change, on this day of the Claremont Eco Forum we'll engage proposals from experts on how to change society for the long-term wellbeing of people and the planet.



If previous generations broke the world, can a younger generation fix it? If so, how? On this day, the Claremont Eco Forum will collaborate with the 5th International Youth Forum on Ecological Civilization to engage proposals from young leaders on how to build a world that works for all.



The Claremont Eco Forum (a.k.a. the International Forum on Ecological Civilization) continues to be one of the largest forums on ecological civilization in the world. Since 2006, this annual forum has drawn together a global cohort of creative academics, activists, artists, non-profit leaders, and governmental officials who are dedicated to rethinking our society toward an ecological civilization.

We think an ecological civilization will emerge by working together. So rather than a series of one-sided lectures like most conferences, our international forum involves two types of sessions: 1) plenary dialogues featuring panels of experts from around the world, and 2) small working group where all conference attendees will have a chance to contribute ideas on the vision, values, and structures needed to build an ecological civilization. Each day will focus on a particular topic.

Scholars and practitioners who want to share more detailed and formal presentations of their work are encouraged to submit papers, articles, PowerPoints, and/or pre-recorded presentations to be uploaded to the conference website which will serve as a resource hub for those who want to know more about ecological civilization.


Not Your Typical Conference

The goal of this event is to deepen and widen understanding about what an ecological civilization looks like in practices, on the ground, in diverse local contexts. An ecological civilization refers to a radically different way of organizing human life (different systems, structures, and practices) guided by a fundamentally different paradigm (different values, worldviews, and goals). This requires getting to the root causes of our complex and interconnected social-environmental challenges, and building a new civilization around a life-affirming ecological paradigm for the long-term wellbeing of people and the planet. Hence, this year's international forum on ecological civilization will be dialogical and solutions-oriented in nature. 


Each day will begin with a 1hr plenaries panel discussion featuring leading thinkers that will inspire, inform, and guide conference conversations. These sessions will be simultaneously translated (currently English and Mandarin). These moderated conversations will be guided by fundamental questions including those submitted in real time by conference participants.


The majority of our time together will be spent in breakout groups focusing on the topic of the day. Following the plenary panel, conference participants will be sorted into small groups for 2hrs of constructive dialogue, aided by the "Discussion Guide for Ecological Civilization" document. This isn't a time to merely observe, but to engage! In live Zoom conversation with other conference participants from around the world, representing a vast array of knowledge and experience, these each small group explore and articulate the values, worldviews, policies, and actions needed for transitioning toward an ecological civilization. Each group will assign a notetaker. Notes from these small group discussion sessions will be collected and synthesized into a common vision for transformation in the key areas being explored in this conference, representing a commitment to a global paradigm shift for the long-term wellbeing of people and the planet.


Tired of academic conferences where scholars read papers at one another in a series of opaque monologues? So are we! That's why our international forum is designed around interactive and constructive dialogue. Yet there is still a need for in-depth research by experts. That's why we invite conference participants to submit written papers and recorded presentations of their research to be uploaded on the conference website prior to the live event. These resources will provide background knowledge for the conference discussions and an ongoing knowledge hub for ecological civilization after the conference.

"In academic circles we often explore problems in great depth but fail to come up with creative ways to solve problems. Consequently we end up knowing a lot about problems but little about how to solve them—so we often end up failing to make a difference. As I wrestled with this challenge it occurred to me that there are at least four questions that we might fruitfully address:

  • What do we think we know?

  • What is the narrative that informs our interpretation of the world we live in

  • What kind of difference do we want to make?

  • How can we begin to make that difference?"

Fred Kirshenmann, Cultivating an Ecological Conscience