Ecological Civilization and Organic Communitarianism

14th International Forum on Ecological Civilization
3rd International Youth Forum on Ecological Civilization

May 21-26, 2021

5:00-8:00pm (Los Angeles Time)

Fully Online

Six days of international dialogue on the most important challenges we face:
rethinking governance, economies, food, education, communities, and more.


Politics and Governance in a World that Works for All


Economies for Wellbeing and Planetary Flourishing


Food and Farming for Future Generations


Education, Art, and Culture


Communities for the Common Good


Youth and the Ecological Generation


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.

This year, we join together the 14th International Forum and the 3rd International Youth Forum in a live, online exploration of “Ecological Civilization and Organic Communitarianism.” This six-day event will be structured primarily around small group dialogue on concrete solutions to complex systemic problems. Each day will focus on a specific theme:

  • Day 1: Politics & Governance in a World That Works for All
  • Day 2: Economies for Wellbeing and Planetary Flourishing
  • Day 3: Food & Farming for Future Generations
  • Day 4: Education, Art, & Culture
  • Day 5: Communities for the Common Good
  • Day 6: Youth and the Ecological Generation


Politics and Governance in a World that Works for All

In an unprecedented time of political division and polarization, how do we transcend partisan loyalties, both domestic and international, for the sake of world loyalty? What role do our political bodies and governing officials play in engendering identities of ecological solidarity? What do political systems look like in an ecological civilization? Where have modern political models failed or succeeded, and what transformations are required to forge a world that works for all?

Economies for Wellbeing and Planetary Flourishing

Our economic system is broken. Exploitation of people and the planet for profit and power has resulted in an unprecedented concentration of wealth. Unlimited growth and corporate rule cannot continue if we are to transition toward an ecological civilization. We need economies designed for wellbeing and planetary flourishing. From issues like growth, ownership, environment, and more, we'll explore sharing economies, circular economies, and models for wellbeing.

Food and Farming for Future Generations

Everyone needs to eat. Yet shortsighted industrialized farming and soil depletion put the wellbeing of future generations at risk. An ecological civilization requires regenerative agriculture systems that prioritize biodiversity and soil health. From ancient and indigenous practices, to polycultures, perennials, animals, and more, we'll be exploring the most promising ways to feed the world for generations to come.

Education, Art, and Culture

Life-affirming education is key to building an ecological civilization. The creativity portrayed in art and culture can help transcend disciplinary fragmentation and the sterilization of value-free knowledge. What is the relationship between education, art, and culture in realizing an ecological civilization? We'll explore the future of education and the role of creativity and art in creating ecological cultures.

Communities for the Common Good

An ecological civilization will be built on the cornerstone of strong local communities capable of participating in global communities of communities. Yet violence and tribalism flow from the scarcity mindsets that separate "us" from "them." Rethinking community, belonging, and identity for peace, harmony, and the common good is fundamental to achieving an ecological civilization.

Youth and the Ecological Generation

In many ways, the realization of an ecological civilization depends on the leadership of our youth (Millennials and Gen Z). The very lives that will be most effected by social-environmental failure are also the voices most sensitive to need for sustainability and systems change. How are Youth showing the way forward, and how can older generations support the cultivation of the emerging ecological generation?


Not Your Typical Conference

The goal of this event is to deepen and widen understanding about the kind of values, worldviews, policies, and actions needed to transition toward an ecological civilization. That entails 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. 


Plenaries will feature leading thinkers that will inspire, inform, and guide conference conversations. These sessions will be simultaneously translated (currently English and Mandarin). Details on plenary speakers forthcoming.


Following the plenary session, the majority of our time together will be spent in breakout groups. Each group will engage in constructive dialogue, aided by the "Discussion Guide for Ecological Civilization" document. Using Zoom meetings, and collaboration software, each small group will take notes on their conversation--articulating values, worldviews, policies, and actions for transitioning toward an ecological civilization. Notes from these small group discussion sessions will be collected and synthesized into a common vision for transformation in the 6 key areas being explored in this conference. The notes will be redrafted into a single vision statement that all conference participants will be invited to sign, indicating support for the vision and encouraging distribution within their global networks. 


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