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Event Details

A program of
Dates: Oct. 4, 11, 18, & 25, 2022
Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM Pacific
Cost: $60.00 (Please do not let cost deter you from attending. Ask about funding for programs.)
Location: On-line – A Zoom Link will be emailed 24 hours before the program begins.


Art by Donna Gibbs, CSJ

The “Anthropocene” is the name given by Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer to a new geological epoch to succeed the Holocene epoch, which is the roughly 10,000-year climatically benign period that began after the last ice age in which human civilization developed. The authors identified large-scale changes humans have made on Earth and to the atmosphere and argued that the role of humans should be recognized by naming the current epoch the Anthropocene.


While there are many grave issues facing humankind, there arguably are only three existential threats: (1) weapons of mass destruction, (2) technology gone awry, and (3) the ecological crisis. Only one of these, the ecological crisis, necessarily Involves transforming human societies as a whole and in so doing attend to the other two as well as many other issues of equity, peace, and justice.


To address the ecological crisis requires that humans learn to live in Earth community. The impulse to fix the problems we are facing with the same approaches that have caused the problems—more technology, growth, investment, industry, and consumption—will not work. Humans have entered the planetary phase of development. Collective action of a different kind is needed and for that there must be ecocentric governance and a new ecological social contract.


Herman Greene is the co-author and co-editor of the recently published legal coursebook titled Earth Law: Emerging Ecocentric Law—A Guide for Practitioners. Earth law goes well beyond what is commonly understood as the legal system. It involves all of the norm-setting and enforcing institutions of society. Earth law and ecocentric governance begin with understanding the nature of Earth community and lead to living in different ways with one another and otherkind.


In this course Herman will present four two-hour sessions on living in Earth community and the roles of ecocentric governance and a new ecological social contract in making that possible.


The topics of the four sessions will be.


Session 1: Modernity Meets the Anthropocene—The End of Nature?

Our historical situation and why modernity cannot solve the problems modernity has created. The pervasive influence of humans on nature. Interpretations of the Anthropocene by scientists and various writers.


Session 2: The Ecological Social Contract—From Economics and Individualism to Ecology and Communitarianism

Theories of the social contract in the Enlightenment, those of Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau. The consumptive social contract of modernity. The nature of the world—not a collection of isolated objects, but a communion of subjects. From negative freedom to relational freedom. Forming the new ecological social contract.


Session 3: Ecocentric Governance—Governance and Earth Law

Governance is more than government. Governance is the overall process of shaping collective agency. Traditional societies, classical civilizations, and the modern state. Competing contemporary forms—liberal democracy, social authoritarianism, and nativist populism. Political economy of consumption. Ecocentrism, Earth law, customary law, and forms and scales of ecological government.


Session 4: Living in Earth Community—A Viable Future

Change in perspective from the near term to the long term.

Creating a new philosophical framework for the future. Dealing with human-Earth relations. Helping people deal with increasingly difficult circumstances. Clarifying economic and energy options. Fostering a vision of a humane and decent future.


The overall learning objective for this course is to offer an understanding of how we can move from societies where the basic decisions are based on economics and industrial development to societies where decisions are based on ecology and human development. The learning objectives for the four sessions are

  1. Understanding the Anthropocene and the necessary end of modernity.

  2. Understanding the contemporary human social contract and the new ecological social contract.

  3. Understanding the meaning of ecocentric governance and what a transition to such governance would involve

  4. Understanding the underlying conditions for the new ecological social contract and ecocentric governance.

Suggested readings will be provided to prepare for each session.


The format of each session will be a presentation by Herman, followed by Q&A, breakout groups, and full group discussion.

Herman F. Greene, JD, DMin

Herman Greene is founder and president of the Center for Ecozoic Studies in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, a thought, imagination, dialogue, and action center for an ecological age. He is Thomas Berry Scholar-in-Residence of the Earth Law Center and is co-author and co-editor of Earth Law: Emerging Ecocentric Law–A Guide for Practitioners (2021). He serves on the Governing Board of the International Process Network. He is a retired business lawyer (corporate, tax, and securities) and holds graduate degrees in law (University of North Carolina-JD), theology (University of Chicago-MTh & MDiv, and United Theological Seminary-DMin), and political science (Stanford University-MA).



4 (Tuesday) 12:00 pm - 25 (Tuesday) 2:00 pm(GMT-05:00) View in my time

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