Regional Convergence: Agenda and Workshop Descriptions

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Register here!

Friday, June 10: Informal Gathering

If you’re in town for the evening, email about an informal gathering.

Saturday, June 11: Resilience, Resistance & Regional Equity Convergence

First Church UU JP, 6 Eliot Street, Jamaica Plain
Please enter on the Eliot Street side of the building by 9:30 to register


9:00 Breakfast & Registration
10:00 – 12:00: Keynote Address with Richard Heinberg, Responses & Q&A
12:00 – 12:45: Lunch
12:45 – 1:40: Say Hello to NERT and Each Other
1:45 – 3:00: Workshops
3:10 – 4:25: Workshops
4:30 – 5:00: Farewell Fiesta and Sending Forth

Morning Session

The morning will include a keynote address from Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow-in-Residence of the Post Carbon Institute. Richard is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost educators on peak oil, energy policy and community resilience. He will explore the opportunities and challenges in the transition to a fossil fuel free future. Several energy analysts and environmental organizations have formulated plans for transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy. Richard Heinberg and David Fridley, staff scientist of the energy analysis program at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, have gathered and assessed those plans, and in his talk Richard will discuss the future of clean energy and how the characteristics of ~100% renewable energy will shape our lives and economy. Richard’s new book, Our Renewable Future, will be available for purchase. Check out a short summary of Our Renewable Future on YES! magazine.

Two members of the New England Resilience & Transition network will offer responses to Richard’s talk.


Renewable Energy in New England

With Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Institute and Lynn Benander, Co-op Power

Join this workshop to discuss the New England energy scene in more detail, including possibilities for community owned, renewable energy. Richard Heinberg, our keynote speaker, will give more details on the opportunities and challenges in the transition to renewables. Lynn Benander is the CEO and President of Co-Op Power, a consumer-owned sustainable energy cooperative that operates within a regional network of Community Energy Cooperatives. Lynn has worked for many years to support the development of consumer, producer, worker-owned and other locally-owned businesses that meet basic needs for energy, food, and shelter. She will speak about the network of consumer-owned energy co-ops around New England, as well as possibilities for our region’s renewable future.

Food Justice and Security in New England

With Karen Spiller, Food Solutions New England and Orion Kriegman, Boston Food Forest Coalition

How can we achieve food justice and food security for all of New England, especially given climate change and environmental degradation? Food Solutions New England has a vision for a sustainable New England food system that produces 50% of our food within the region by 2060. Join this workshop to learn about their vision and the essential role grassroots groups and community-based agriculture play in achieving it. This is a great chance to consider how our efforts can combine for a greater, region-wide impact.

Resilience & Resistance in New England: Building a Holistic Movement for Justice & Sustainability

With Chuck Collins, moderator, Institute for Policy Studies and JP New Economy Transition; Tim Stevenson, Founding Director at Post Oil Solutions and author of Resilience and Resistance: Building Sustainable Communities for a Post Oil Age; and Marla Marcum, Climate Disobedience Center

“Resilience” and “resistance” are essential complements in a holistic struggle to build an equitable and sustainable society. This workshop will discuss how all our work can benefit when we situate ourselves in this larger framework. The workshop will also include a discussion of the status of the movement to resist pipelines here in New England.

Building Resilience Together: Get Support for your Current Work, and Think Together about Collaborative Possibilities

With Ben Roberts, Conversation Collaborative and Sarah Byrnes, New England Resilience & Transition Network

Join with other community initiatives to receive support for your community work and think together about how we can be “more than the sum of our parts.” You’ll present a challenge you are experiencing, and receive input and support from your peers. You will also be able to offer input and support to others. We’ll also move into a conversation about what we can do together to enhance resilience, sustainability, and equity. Where are the potential collaborations among us?

The New Economy Movement

With Anand Jahi, Program Director at the New Economy Coalition and Gwendolyn Hallsmith, Vermonters for a New Economy

What is the new economy? Join this workshop to find out! You’ll hear about a vibrant and growing movement from two leading practitioners in the field. Anand Jahi, Program Director at the New Economy Coalition, will offer framing remarks on the state of this international movement that is building a sustainable and equitable economy at many scales, from local to global. Gwendolyn Hallsmith, Director of Vermonters for a New Economy, will give a picture of how the new economy is taking shape in the great state of Vermont — from local currencies, public banking, and genuine progress indicators to a new field of study that brings it together called Permanomics. Together, we’ll consider how to build the new economy in our communities and the New England region as a whole.

The Power of Story for Building Resilience

With Marianne Connor, screenwriter and producer

In times of big change, the stories we tell about where we are headed and why it is worth the journey are critical to building community resilience, creativity and commitment. These stories can compel collective, conscious action or paralyze us in fear and powerlessness. Come learn the key elements for developing your community or organization’s transformation story.

Marianne Connor is a screenwriter/producer and evolutionary activist who uses the power of story to support communities to step into big change by conscious design in partnership with nature. 

Skills for Building Equity: Race and Class in Transition and Resilience Organizing

With Charis Boke, cultural anthropologist, community organizer, and Program Leader with the Unitarian Universalist College of Social Justice

Equity is intrinsic to resilience, and no one is truly resilient until we all are. Resilience and care are deeply connected, and we can’t heal our planet’s challenges without caring attention to people as well as ecologies. It is essential that we address and heal from historical and ongoing injustices in order to build a world where we can all thrive, regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation or anything else. In this workshop, we will explore how we can learn to care for one another as a key part of building resilience. We will consider how our identities impact our community work, and learn approaches for working across difference in order to build multi-racial and cross-class initiatives and work toward an equitable region.

Culture Shift: A Social Permaculture Framework for Creating & Cultivating Powerful, Joyful, & Effective Groups

With Samantha Wechsler, Wildwise

Innovative and promising initiatives often fall far short of their transformative potential—or are stopped dead in their tracks—not because of a shortcoming inherent to the initiatives or the ideas behind them, but because of conflict within and between groups of people. Even when everyone agrees to a shared vision and believes that they are coming to the table bolstered by the highest of ideals, collaborative efforts often come apart at the seams, leaving people feeling discouraged and betrayed.

In this workshop, we will explore key principles of “social permaculture”, learn skills and tools for creating and contributing to functional and effective groups, and develop a deeper understanding of the role of meaningful cooperation in bringing about a just and equitable transition. Participants, regardless of their level of previous group experience, will come away feeling energized, inspired, and better equipped to (re)commit to collaborative efforts.

Samantha Wechsler is the owner of Wildwise, a coaching and consulting business that is dedicated to individual and collective transformation. Samantha provides life and leadership coaching for women executives, entrepreneurs, and changemakers who yearn to make a deeper impact in their personal lives, their work, their communities, or beyond. She also works with organizational teams to increase their effectiveness while building a healthier, more life-affirming culture.

Restoring Ecosystems and Biodiversity: Nature’s Plan for Resilience and Transition

With Adam Sacks, Sharon McGregor, Jim Laurie, and Paula Phipps

Healthy, biodiverse ecosystems provide clean water, abundant healthy food, solid community economics, climate resilience and massive capture of atmospheric carbon through photosynthesis and long-lived complex biomolecules. There are many viable and sustainable approaches for a range of ecosystems; they are inexpensive, low-tech, powerful and just about anyone can participate. In this interactive workshop we’ll discuss a variety of practices from around the world, and focus on the possibilities in urban, suburban and rural environments in New England.

2 thoughts on “Regional Convergence: Agenda and Workshop Descriptions

  1. At some point, I would be wiling to do a presentation in my area of expertise along the lines of:
    The national liberation movement in Hawai’i, the parallel to Lithuania’s successful non-violent resistance to the USSR, and their relevance to ending this empire.


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