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101. An Ecological Civilization for All with Andrew Schwartz of EcoCiv
Episode 10122nd July 2022 • The Good Dirt: Sustainability Explained • Lady Farmer
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What does it mean for humans to live sustainably on the earth? Andrew Schwartz, Co-Founder and Executive Vice President of The Institute for Ecological Civilization, a non-profit promoting long-term solutions for the wellbeing of people and the planet, helps us pull apart that question. Andrew is also the Executive Director of the Center for Process Studies and Assistant Professor of Process and Comparative Theology at Claremont School of Theology. In this conversation, we’re talking about fundamental shifts in many of our most basic assumptions about our relationship with each other and the environment, and the role each of us plays in the way forward towards a worldwide, life-supporting community.  

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Podchaser, Podtail, Youtube, or on your favorite podcast platform.

Topics Covered:

  • How Andrew came to his interest in ecology through religion
  • How The Institute for Ecological Civilization came into being
  • Explanation of The Institute for Ecological Civilization and its mission
  • The Centrality of the Human Experience
  • Genesis as a directive for the human role in the web of creation
  • Deep Ecology
  • Are we fighting for human survival or earth's survival?
  • EcoCiv partners and programs
  • Where are the solutions? Does change happen from within the system, outside the system or from the top down?
  • Who is getting it right? Who do we support?

Resources Mentioned: 

Connect with Andrew and the Institute for Ecological Civilization:

About Lady Farmer:

Lady Farmer is a sustainable apparel and lifestyle brand, with education around sustainability and sustainable living at the forefront of our mission. Lady Farmer is proud to produce The Good Dirt podcast.

Original music by John Kingsley @jkingsley1026

Statements in this podcast have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not to be considered as medical or nutritional advice. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, and should not be considered above the advice of your physician. Consult a medical professional when making dietary or lifestyle decisions that could affect your health and well being.

Transcripts

Andrew Schwartz:

So an ecological civilization, what we mean when we say

Andrew Schwartz:

that is we're talking about transforming society in a way that will promote the

Andrew Schwartz:

flourishing of life for the long term wellbeing of people on the planet.

Andrew Schwartz:

That is definitely not something that we propose to be able to do on our own.

Andrew Schwartz:

It's a collaborative effort.

Emma Kingsley:

You're listening to The Good Dirt Podcast.

Emma Kingsley:

This is a place where we dig into the nitty gritty of sustainable living

Emma Kingsley:

through food, fashion, and lifestyle.

Mary Kingsley:

And we are your hosts, Mary and Emma Kingsley, the mother and

Mary Kingsley:

daughter, founder, team of Lady Farmer.

Mary Kingsley:

We are sowing seeds of slow living through our community platform

Mary Kingsley:

events and online marketplace.

Emma Kingsley:

We started this podcast as a means to share the wealth of

Emma Kingsley:

information and quality conversations that we're having in our world.

Emma Kingsley:

As we dream up and deliver ways for each of us to live into the new paradigm.

Emma Kingsley:

One that is regenerative balanced

Mary Kingsley:

and whole.

Mary Kingsley:

We want to put the microphone in front of the voices that need to be heard

Mary Kingsley:

the most right now, the farmers, the dreamers, the designers, and the doers.

Mary Kingsley:

So come cultivate a

Emma Kingsley:

better world with us.

Emma Kingsley:

We're so glad you're here now.

Emma Kingsley:

Let's dig in.

Emma Kingsley:

Hello, everyone.

Emma Kingsley:

Welcome back to The Good Dirt Podcast on this Midsummer day.

Emma Kingsley:

And officially we are at episode 101, which is so exciting.

Emma Kingsley:

Yay mom.

Emma Kingsley:

What's going on with you?

Emma Kingsley:

What's new in the garden?

Emma Kingsley:

Well, the

Mary Kingsley:

rose of sharon has bloomed.

Mary Kingsley:

I love it so much.

Mary Kingsley:

I have a whole bunch of it and I just enjoy it so much.

Mary Kingsley:

During the second part of the summer, it makes such a beautiful cup flower.

Mary Kingsley:

It lasts a long time in a vase and it brings to mind for me, the sacred

Mary Kingsley:

harp hymn of the same name from the sacred harp hymnal number 254.

Mary Kingsley:

Anyone's familiar with that.

Emma Kingsley:

Yes, it definitely does.

Emma Kingsley:

Because every time you pass the rose of Sharon or talk about rose of Sharon, You

Emma Kingsley:

start singing it so I can attest that.

Emma Kingsley:

It brings that to your mind.

Emma Kingsley:

So, um, do you wanna tell people what is the sacred harp hymn?

Emma Kingsley:

No.

Emma Kingsley:

Yeah, so

Mary Kingsley:

sacred harp music is one of the oldest forms of American folk music.

Mary Kingsley:

And it was developed in churches in new England a couple hundred years ago.

Mary Kingsley:

And it's been preserved in the rural south more in recent decades.

Mary Kingsley:

It's also called sacred harp singing, fa-so-la singing.

Mary Kingsley:

Or shape note singing.

Mary Kingsley:

And this is a four part harmony and people knew what pitch to sing by

Mary Kingsley:

the shape of the note and the hen.

Mary Kingsley:

So people who didn't read music could follow along and participate

Mary Kingsley:

in the congregational singing.

Mary Kingsley:

It's a beautiful, beautiful sound.

Emma Kingsley:

Yes.

Emma Kingsley:

I can say that.

Emma Kingsley:

I actually went to a sacred harp shape note singing.

Emma Kingsley:

I'm not sure which one to call it gathering in New York city.

Emma Kingsley:

One time in the west village.

Emma Kingsley:

Wow.

Emma Kingsley:

Yeah, that was interesting.

Mary Kingsley:

Oh my gosh.

Mary Kingsley:

And people sat in the four different positions and everybody,

Mary Kingsley:

and mm-hmm you sat together with the part you were singing.

Emma Kingsley:

Yeah.

Emma Kingsley:

And there was like, I mean, it really helps to have at least one

Emma Kingsley:

person in each part that like knows.

Emma Kingsley:

They're doing, and then you have someone stand up and like lead it.

Emma Kingsley:

It was cool.

Emma Kingsley:

So the sacred

Mary Kingsley:

harp hymnal is a shape, note tune book, and it dates

Mary Kingsley:

all the way back to like 1844.

Mary Kingsley:

I think it was published in somewhere in Georgia.

Mary Kingsley:

And since then has been used for congregational singing in churches.

Mary Kingsley:

And I have a copy because I used to be in a sacred harp singing group when I

Mary Kingsley:

lived in Atlanta in the early eighties.

Mary Kingsley:

That was long before you were born yes.

Emma Kingsley:

So if anyone's interested, especially in the rose

Emma Kingsley:

of Sharon song, which is, what did you say it is number 2 54.

Emma Kingsley:

Yes.

Emma Kingsley:

So they refer to all the songs by the numbers.

Emma Kingsley:

Two that's another sacred harp thing.

Emma Kingsley:

We can have a link to it and the show notes will link a, a little clip of that.

Emma Kingsley:

Him in there.

Emma Kingsley:

If you have any rows of Sharon around you, you can listen to it and look at

Emma Kingsley:

yours of Sharon it's fun and get a taste

Mary Kingsley:

of what the sound is.

Mary Kingsley:

It's really beautiful.

Mary Kingsley:

Yeah.

Mary Kingsley:

And the text from this hand, number 2 54 is taken from the Bible is actually

Mary Kingsley:

taken from the som of Solomon, which is interesting because the song of Solomon

Mary Kingsley:

is actually very erotic, but theologians.

Mary Kingsley:

Over the years have argued that it's an allegory about love between

Mary Kingsley:

Christ and the church, or the love between God and man, et cetera.

Mary Kingsley:

So, yeah, it's very interesting.

Emma Kingsley:

so yeah.

Emma Kingsley:

Now you can all go listen to the hymn and let us know what you think the meaning is.

Emma Kingsley:

I also love that this kind of reminds me of the voicemail that we just got.

Mary Kingsley:

Really?

Emma Kingsley:

Yeah.

Emma Kingsley:

Do you wanna listen to it?

Mary Kingsley:

Absolutely.

Laura - Voicemail Caller:

Hi, this is Laura in Decatur, Georgia.

Laura - Voicemail Caller:

I am calling to say thank you for your Good Dirt podcast and

Laura - Voicemail Caller:

for the ways you inspire us to enjoy and take care of the earth.

Laura - Voicemail Caller:

I resonated with your conversation with Spencre McGowan recently on the

Laura - Voicemail Caller:

magic and power of plants, especially when she said something like treat a

Laura - Voicemail Caller:

like your new friend or even a lover.

Laura - Voicemail Caller:

I resonated because being friends with streams and trails and

Laura - Voicemail Caller:

trees and wildflowers was just a natural part of how I grew up.

Laura - Voicemail Caller:

My family spent a lot of time in nature, camping across the country

Laura - Voicemail Caller:

in the summertime, in the national parks, everywhere we went, my parents

Laura - Voicemail Caller:

were intentional in giving thanks for the beautiful creation that God made.

Laura - Voicemail Caller:

Just a couple.

Laura - Voicemail Caller:

I was lucky enough to land in Western North Carolina, right?

Laura - Voicemail Caller:

When the RO Dendron were in bloom across the mountainside.

Laura - Voicemail Caller:

I got to be face to face with their white and pink blossoms, and I enjoy

Laura - Voicemail Caller:

happy communion with my friends.

Laura - Voicemail Caller:

So thanks again.

Mary Kingsley:

Yes, Laura!

Mary Kingsley:

Oh, that was so beautiful and so meaningful.

Mary Kingsley:

I'm so glad that it resonated with you in that way.

Mary Kingsley:

It does me too.

Mary Kingsley:

Yes.

Emma Kingsley:

And I just love the idea too, of befriending plants, like we said,

Emma Kingsley:

and like with the Rose of Sharon being in love with them, loving our plants.

Emma Kingsley:

It's really sweet.

Emma Kingsley:

And really it elevates sort of the experience of our relationship

Emma Kingsley:

with the natural world.

Emma Kingsley:

So thank you for calling in and please continue calling us.

Emma Kingsley:

And that was like a really sweet, beautiful story, but we promise

Emma Kingsley:

y'all if you just wanna call in and tell us where you're listening

Emma Kingsley:

from, that's all you have to do.

Emma Kingsley:

Don't feel like you have to wax poetic, even though we love that,

Mary Kingsley:

too.

Mary Kingsley:

Anything you wanna say about the good dirt or otherwise,

Mary Kingsley:

we're happy to hear from you.

Mary Kingsley:

We hope you'll keep calling in.

Emma Kingsley:

And again, you can continue to call in at 443-459-1950.

Emma Kingsley:

Okay.

Emma Kingsley:

So now that we've heard that wonderful voicemail, we have to announce our

Emma Kingsley:

winner of our Slow Living Consult

Mary Kingsley:

if you're joining us for the first time, I wanna explain that

Mary Kingsley:

during the month of June, we collected all the voicemails that people sent and

Mary Kingsley:

we chose one for the slow living consult.

Emma Kingsley:

So a slow living consult is a chat with us, two Mary

Emma Kingsley:

and Emma, all about what you've got going on, how your slow living, how

Emma Kingsley:

you feel like you aren't slow living.

Emma Kingsley:

And just all the things that we talk about here at the podcast.

Emma Kingsley:

Just sort of a little one on one chat

Mary Kingsley:

with you now, Emma, I think you have an announcement.

Emma Kingsley:

Yes.

Emma Kingsley:

Starre Haas from Alaska is the winner of our slow living consult- Starre,

Emma Kingsley:

we can't wait to connect with you and hear more about what you have

Emma Kingsley:

going on at the Haas Hope Homestead.

Emma Kingsley:

We appreciate you so much, and we appreciate everyone calling

Emma Kingsley:

in and telling us their thoughts and where they're calling from.

Emma Kingsley:

You can still do that.

Emma Kingsley:

We're keeping the voicemail open forever 443-459-1950.

Emma Kingsley:

All

Mary Kingsley:

right.

Mary Kingsley:

So on to today's episode where we get into some real nitty gritty today with

Mary Kingsley:

our guest Andrew Schwartz, he is the co-founder and executive vice president

Mary Kingsley:

of EcoCiv, which is short for the Institute for Ecological Civilization.

Mary Kingsley:

Andrew is also the Executive Director of the Center for Process Studies and

Mary Kingsley:

assistant professor of process and comparative theology at Claremont School

Mary Kingsley:

of Theology in Southern California.

Mary Kingsley:

His recent work involves the role of big ideas in the transition

Mary Kingsley:

towards ecological civilization.

Emma Kingsley:

So what is the Institute for Ecological Civilization?

Emma Kingsley:

Well, as Andrew will tell us about it is a nonprofit founded by Andrew

Emma Kingsley:

and the co-founder Philip Clayton promoting long term solutions for the

Emma Kingsley:

wellbeing of people and the planet.

Emma Kingsley:

They work to connect catalyze and incubate EcoCiv has undertaken ecological

Emma Kingsley:

civilization focused projects with a number of organizations around the

Emma Kingsley:

world, and they're developing a robust methodology and approach that links

Emma Kingsley:

global knowledge and resources to local leadership and capacity building.

Mary Kingsley:

And so what you might ask is an ecological civilization?

Mary Kingsley:

Well, that's the focus of this amazing conversation with Andrew.

Mary Kingsley:

So sit back and get ready to take a deep dive into some very creative and forward

Mary Kingsley:

thinking ideas about what it means for humans to live sustainably on the planet.

Mary Kingsley:

We're talking about fundamental shifts in many of our most basic assumptions

Mary Kingsley:

about our relationship to each other in the environment and the role

Mary Kingsley:

each of us plays in the way forward.

Emma Kingsley:

So without further ado here is Andrew Schwartz.

Andrew Schwartz:

I'm Andrew Schwartz.

Andrew Schwartz:

I am the co-founder and vice president of EcoCiv.

Andrew Schwartz:

And I also am, uh, executive director of the Center for Process Studies

Andrew Schwartz:

and, uh, Professor of Comparative Theology and Process Studies at

Andrew Schwartz:

Claremont School of Theology, which is based in Southern California,

Andrew Schwartz:

although I've not too long ago, moved to the green state of Oregon, south

Andrew Schwartz:

of Portland, here up in Salem, Oregon, and working at Willamette University.

Andrew Schwartz:

So I am interested in making the world a better place, in doing what

Andrew Schwartz:

I can in order to facilitate that.

Andrew Schwartz:

So I like asking big questions.

Andrew Schwartz:

I, I like it thinking about questioning the things that we assume about the

Andrew Schwartz:

way the world works and the way that it should and the way that it could.

Andrew Schwartz:

And see maybe if we can question some of our fundamental assumptions about

Andrew Schwartz:

how human life and communities are organized and then restructure those

Andrew Schwartz:

for the long term wellbeing of people in the planet, which is something that our

Andrew Schwartz:

group calls an ecological civilization.

Andrew Schwartz:

So basically we say civilization in the sense of it's for us, the biggest

Andrew Schwartz:

description of how humans live.

Andrew Schwartz:

Um, so it's sort of trying to be all encompassing in that sense.

Andrew Schwartz:

And then to reframe how humans live from an ecological perspective for us

Andrew Schwartz:

means recognizing the interconnection and interdependence of things, the

Andrew Schwartz:

interplay of social and environmental.

Andrew Schwartz:

So yeah, that's what we do.

Emma Kingsley:

That's awesome.

Emma Kingsley:

We love that here on The Good Dirt.

Mary Kingsley:

I think the questioning part is key.

Mary Kingsley:

Like questioning things.

Mary Kingsley:

We just assume, um, assume like the way things are and the way things have to be.

Mary Kingsley:

And I love, uh, scratching the surface of that and digging deeper

Mary Kingsley:

and say, what if things were not this way which is what I have found in

Mary Kingsley:

your organization and your resources, and it's really fascinating stuff.

Mary Kingsley:

And I think so important.

Mary Kingsley:

I.

Mary Kingsley:

So you are the co-founder of the Institute for Ecological

Mary Kingsley:

Civilization or EcoCiv shortened now, how did you get to that point?

Mary Kingsley:

What was your aha moment or your moment of illumination?

Mary Kingsley:

Where I could start something to where we're really digging in

Mary Kingsley:

and talking about these things.

Mary Kingsley:

Can you identify that or was it more of a gradual process?

Andrew Schwartz:

It's a great question.

Andrew Schwartz:

I appreciate your farming analogy by the way of digging in.

Andrew Schwartz:

Uh, that's good.

Andrew Schwartz:

is this

Mary Kingsley:

The Good Dirt Podcast!

Andrew Schwartz:

The Good Dirt podcast where we dig deep.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yes.

Andrew Schwartz:

So I actually started, as I had mentioned, as you picked up on, you know, I do

Andrew Schwartz:

work in theology in religion, and sometimes people are like, well, what

Andrew Schwartz:

in the world does that have to do with environmental stuff and ecology, or even.

Andrew Schwartz:

Addressing you know, economic injustices or something like that.

Andrew Schwartz:

Like isn't theology just about like invisible gods and afterlife and like

Andrew Schwartz:

the intangible stuff that sometimes people feel like is not relevant to

Andrew Schwartz:

everyday practical concerns, which is a whole nother question, which

Andrew Schwartz:

we don't have to get into anyway.

Andrew Schwartz:

So

Mary Kingsley:

I would love to, but...

Emma Kingsley:

yeah, we're in for that!

Andrew Schwartz:

But for me, I actually, so I did start with, with

Andrew Schwartz:

an interest in religion and the reason for that, for me as I was a kid, I

Andrew Schwartz:

actually grew up in a, primarily in a Christian home, but my father's Jewish.

Andrew Schwartz:

So I had sort of an interesting interreligious kind of upbringing,

Andrew Schwartz:

uh, it didn't hit me as like that was important or significant or unique

Andrew Schwartz:

other than the fact that I got extra presents because we did some Jewish

Andrew Schwartz:

holidays and some Christian holidays.

Andrew Schwartz:

So I was like, Hey yeah, extra presents.

Andrew Schwartz:

This is great!

Andrew Schwartz:

But when I was like a teenager, I said, well, you know, if

Andrew Schwartz:

I'm really gonna be committed.

Andrew Schwartz:

You know, to this religious stuff and I'm gonna be committed to God.

Andrew Schwartz:

I, I gotta commit my whole self.

Andrew Schwartz:

Like, what would it mean for me to go and be a, I don't know, an

Andrew Schwartz:

interior decorator from nine to five and then turn around and be a, a

Andrew Schwartz:

Christian only on Sundays or something?

Andrew Schwartz:

That's not giving God my whole life.

Andrew Schwartz:

So like my brain was thinking, you know, sort of an all or nothing paradigm

Andrew Schwartz:

where I said, if I'm gonna commit myself, I gotta commit my whole self.

Andrew Schwartz:

And that includes my career.

Andrew Schwartz:

So I started studying theology and religion with the eye of being a

Andrew Schwartz:

minister., and I did some work, I served in some churches and stuff, but the more

Andrew Schwartz:

I learned about theology in this process of trying to commit my life to the things

Andrew Schwartz:

that I thought mattered most and what could matter more than, than God, right?

Andrew Schwartz:

I thought, well, it's interesting how the things that I grew up learning

Andrew Schwartz:

were not the totality of the picture.

Andrew Schwartz:

There's a lot of diversity within Christianity, uh, which got me

Andrew Schwartz:

really interested in the sort of different ways of understanding

Andrew Schwartz:

and expressing Christian belief.

Andrew Schwartz:

And then that got me interested in diversity across religions,

Andrew Schwartz:

outside of Christianity.

Andrew Schwartz:

So I became really interested in interreligious and comparative theology

Andrew Schwartz:

and something called religious pluralism, um, that sort of exploring, notions

Andrew Schwartz:

of truth and difference between religions, and ended up doing a master's

Andrew Schwartz:

degree with that kind of a focus.

Andrew Schwartz:

But then that took me more and more toward like philosophy, which then

Andrew Schwartz:

got me thinking about these sort of big universal questions about truth

Andrew Schwartz:

and meaning, and sort of life and definitions of structures and paradigms

Andrew Schwartz:

those sort of big universal questions that got me into philosophy took me

Andrew Schwartz:

to Claremont, um, where I was doing philosophy of religion and theology

Andrew Schwartz:

and really deepened my understanding of something called Process Philosophy or

Andrew Schwartz:

Process Theology, and started working at the Center for Process Studies.

Andrew Schwartz:

And that was, uh, organization founded in 1973 by my friend

Andrew Schwartz:

in and, and, uh, mentor John B.

Andrew Schwartz:

Cobb Jr.

Andrew Schwartz:

Who's now 97 years old.

Andrew Schwartz:

Mm-hmm um, and still going strong and his former student and colleague David

Andrew Schwartz:

Ray Griffin, and they founded this center basically as a faculty research

Andrew Schwartz:

center that was taking what, what we call a process, relational worldview.

Andrew Schwartz:

So this idea that everything is interconnected and everything is sort of,

Andrew Schwartz:

what's called like an organic philosophy.

Andrew Schwartz:

So it's like a philosophy of organism in the sense that the world's not

Andrew Schwartz:

understood as like a machine that's where you, you understand it by breaking

Andrew Schwartz:

it apart and examining individual pieces, but you understand the world

Andrew Schwartz:

as an interconnected web of life.

Andrew Schwartz:

So the relationships matter, not just the individual components.

Andrew Schwartz:

So this is like a philosophy that I became increasingly interested in

Andrew Schwartz:

and had theological implications too.

Andrew Schwartz:

But the more I studied that, the more I became interested in eco understanding of

Andrew Schwartz:

the world around me and in environmental issues and the interdependence, and

Andrew Schwartz:

dependence that we have on a living earth.

Andrew Schwartz:

So center for process studies has its roots, sort of an eco perspective.

Andrew Schwartz:

John Cobb was very involved in the sustainability movement in

Andrew Schwartz:

the late sixties, early seventies.

Andrew Schwartz:

So we have that history.

Andrew Schwartz:

So I come into this organization, am learning all these cool things and

Andrew Schwartz:

being inspired by the people around me.

Andrew Schwartz:

And in 2015, we had this major conference called seizing an alternative toward

Andrew Schwartz:

an ecological civilization, about 2000 people that we brought in over at Pomona

Andrew Schwartz:

College in Claremont, California had 85 different working groups where people sort

Andrew Schwartz:

of select a track and say, we're gonna get together in small groups and hash out

Andrew Schwartz:

like what these alternatives look like and rethinking farming, rethinking economics,

Andrew Schwartz:

rethinking education, et cetera.

Andrew Schwartz:

And out of that conference, there's so much energy and great ideas that

Andrew Schwartz:

John Cobb and I were like, well, we really, if we wanna see this develop

Andrew Schwartz:

into sort of something that makes a difference and an impact in the world,

Andrew Schwartz:

we need an organization that can sort of spearhead that work and keep it going.

Andrew Schwartz:

So we recruited Phillip Clayton to, uh, head up that organization and he

Andrew Schwartz:

recruited me to do it with him and.

Andrew Schwartz:

Therein lies the birth of EcoCiv

Emma Kingsley:

amazing.

Emma Kingsley:

Yes.

Mary Kingsley:

Oh my gosh.

Mary Kingsley:

There's a lot of things in there.

Mary Kingsley:

A lot of concepts, a lot of

Mary Kingsley:

ideas

Andrew Schwartz:

that was a much longer story than you probably bought.

Andrew Schwartz:

You know, you didn't want all that.

Emma Kingsley:

Yeah.

Emma Kingsley:

Anyway, there it's.

Emma Kingsley:

No, it's so helpful to have that background.

Emma Kingsley:

I have one question

Mary Kingsley:

I'm dying to ask how many of those people that got together

Mary Kingsley:

at that conference, those 2000 people.

Mary Kingsley:

I wonder how many of those people have read Daniel Quinn's work?

Mary Kingsley:

Ishmael?

Mary Kingsley:

Is that familiar?

Andrew Schwartz:

That's a good question.

Andrew Schwartz:

I'm not familiar.

Mary Kingsley:

Oh, you're not.

Mary Kingsley:

Oh my goodness.

Mary Kingsley:

Well, I recommend,

Andrew Schwartz:

I know, sharing my ignorance on The Good Dirt podcast.

Mary Kingsley:

it's not ignorance.

Mary Kingsley:

It's, it's a novel that really poses a lot of these questions that you

Mary Kingsley:

all deal with in a fictional story.

Mary Kingsley:

And I highly recommend that you read it when you get a chance.

Mary Kingsley:

So Andrew, the Institute for Ecological Civilization, it really deals with

Mary Kingsley:

some really challenging concepts.

Mary Kingsley:

I mean, you really have, you know, people have to go.

Mary Kingsley:

Really to a different place in their head.

Mary Kingsley:

So what do you see as the entry point for the mainstream citizen, consumer

Mary Kingsley:

society member in grasping this idea of questioning our huge assumptions, huge

Mary Kingsley:

assumptions, like, you know, like our capitalistic system and the way we exploit

Mary Kingsley:

nature to live the way we wanna live.

Mary Kingsley:

What's the entry point for the everyday guy?

Mary Kingsley:

The guy on the elevator, let's say, I

Andrew Schwartz:

think there are some basic assumptions such as.

Andrew Schwartz:

Is everything interconnected or is everything fragmented and individual?

Andrew Schwartz:

Hmm.

Andrew Schwartz:

So I think Western society, we have so much of an emphasis on the individual,

Andrew Schwartz:

um, and sort of individual autonomy.

Andrew Schwartz:

Even our, the notion of sovereign nations, everything is sort of built around the

Andrew Schwartz:

idea of these are the boundaries, right?

Andrew Schwartz:

This is my identity, my space mm-hmm and distinguishing ourselves

Andrew Schwartz:

from other than, and us versus them and all that sort of stuff.

Andrew Schwartz:

And I think what I learned from an environmental perspective is that these

Andrew Schwartz:

boundaries in real life are much fuzzier mm-hmm , it's not to say that we, we

Andrew Schwartz:

get rid of the individual, but it's always understanding the individual in

Andrew Schwartz:

context as an individual in community.

Andrew Schwartz:

And in that case, one of the best starting points, I think for these

Andrew Schwartz:

big questions is to recognize that everything is interconnected and

Andrew Schwartz:

everything depends on everything.

Andrew Schwartz:

So humans can't thrive on a dying planet in that saving whales and

Andrew Schwartz:

saving the rainforest and addressing wealth gaps are not actually all

Andrew Schwartz:

separate things, but they're part of a complex web of interrelated problems.

Andrew Schwartz:

So then that means when we try to address these sort of what we might

Andrew Schwartz:

call wicked problems, these really big, really complex sort of messy

Andrew Schwartz:

problems that are all interconnected, social and environmental problem.

Andrew Schwartz:

That we can't try to solve them piecemeal.

Andrew Schwartz:

So what EcoCiv does is says, we need to try to understand the complex web

Andrew Schwartz:

of social and environmental challenges so that we can find lasting solutions

Andrew Schwartz:

by addressing those root causes.

Andrew Schwartz:

And those root causes are things that we identify sort of underneath the sort

Andrew Schwartz:

of conditions that create the problems.

Andrew Schwartz:

So I think of the analogy of like a boat that's sinking, cuz it has

Andrew Schwartz:

a hole and is taking on water.

Andrew Schwartz:

That's completely rational to say, well, we gotta get rid of the water.

Andrew Schwartz:

The water's the problem.

Andrew Schwartz:

It's making a sink.

Andrew Schwartz:

So you start bailing water, throwing it out.

Andrew Schwartz:

But if you don't stop the source of the problem by plugging the hole in the boat,

Andrew Schwartz:

you're gonna waste all of your time, sort of addressing the symptom and it's

Andrew Schwartz:

not actually going to provide sort of the long term solution that you want.

Andrew Schwartz:

So that's what I think we need in society.

Andrew Schwartz:

Sort of figuring out where is the hole in our civilizational boat

Andrew Schwartz:

and plugging that mm-hmm yeah.

Emma Kingsley:

I'm so curious.

Emma Kingsley:

What do you think the holes are?

Emma Kingsley:

What are the root problems.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yes.

Andrew Schwartz:

Let me tell you right now, the, uh, root cause of all of the problems in

Andrew Schwartz:

society, and that tell us Andrew, that you, if you just, if you implement these

Andrew Schwartz:

four ideas, you can save the world.

Andrew Schwartz:

obviously it's, it's complicated.

Andrew Schwartz:

And I think different contexts things are a little different.

Andrew Schwartz:

What exactly the solution looks like in Bhutan might be different than

Andrew Schwartz:

what it looks like in Canada and different than it looks like in Brazil.

Andrew Schwartz:

I think that there are some fundamental assumptions about, well,

Andrew Schwartz:

we might call them in philosophy or something like anthropocentrism

Andrew Schwartz:

so like human centeredness.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

That are sort of driving a lot.

Andrew Schwartz:

If we understand the natural world, the more than human world is basically just.

Andrew Schwartz:

There for, with instrumental value, meaning that it's just there for yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

For human desires and goals, and it doesn't have any sort of

Andrew Schwartz:

value intrinsic to itself then.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

You know, what's

Emma Kingsley:

interesting.

Emma Kingsley:

I just have this thought based on that.

Emma Kingsley:

And then I want you to continue telling us all the root problems, but

Emma Kingsley:

the anthrop is an interesting one.

Emma Kingsley:

And it reminds me of, I mean, there's a time in history when we literally thought

Emma Kingsley:

the earth was the center of the universe.

Emma Kingsley:

And after realizing that it's not, that changed everything that changed so much.

Emma Kingsley:

And so now it's kind of like we are in this, I don't know.

Emma Kingsley:

It's a much deeper and like more complicated thing to get out of, but

Emma Kingsley:

we are in a time when we think of ourselves as the center of the universe.

Emma Kingsley:

I mean, how can we not, we see the world through our own eyes.

Emma Kingsley:

And so of course, We are the center of our own experience.

Emma Kingsley:

And so maybe that's sort of like part of the next evolution will be to understand

Emma Kingsley:

that, that we're not that I don't know.

Emma Kingsley:

I

Andrew Schwartz:

think that's great.

Andrew Schwartz:

I think, and actually in history, right?

Andrew Schwartz:

The copernican revolution yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

Was not without problems cause to yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

Propose that the earth was not the center and everything didn't revolve around the

Andrew Schwartz:

earth was raising the question on the centrality and importance of humanity.

Andrew Schwartz:

And I think to question the centrality of, of human experience is sort of the

Andrew Schwartz:

most important or the starting point.

Andrew Schwartz:

For understand, to me, it's a, it's not a question of, are humans

Andrew Schwartz:

unique or are humans special?

Andrew Schwartz:

It's more a question of matters of degree rather than like

Andrew Schwartz:

sort of a difference in kind.

Andrew Schwartz:

So to say that humans have experiences and that humans have feelings is cool.

Andrew Schwartz:

Not to the exclusion of my dog Oliver or my dog, Winston.

Andrew Schwartz:

They also have experiences and have feelings.

Andrew Schwartz:

They enjoy some toys better than others, and they enjoy sniffing some

Andrew Schwartz:

bushes more than others and they make decisions and they do things.

Andrew Schwartz:

So, yeah, I think there's something about not necessarily an like an alternative to

Andrew Schwartz:

centralism that says humans don't matter.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

But a way to understand how humans fit within the sort of web of life.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

And that we are not separate from, but we're a part of nature.

Andrew Schwartz:

And I think that's a huge paradigm shift.

Andrew Schwartz:

And what would it look like?

Andrew Schwartz:

Totally.

Andrew Schwartz:

How would we consume differently if that were our starting

Emma Kingsley:

point?

Emma Kingsley:

I think it's also a matter of being able to hold two opposing truths at the same

Emma Kingsley:

time, which is something that we like our brains just like can't do right now.

Emma Kingsley:

Expand on that a little

Mary Kingsley:

bit, Emma, like what would be the two

Emma Kingsley:

things?

Emma Kingsley:

So truism might.

Emma Kingsley:

We are the center of our own experience because how could we not be, we

Emma Kingsley:

experience things through ourselves.

Emma Kingsley:

And then another truth would be, we are not the center of the universe.

Emma Kingsley:

I don't know.

Emma Kingsley:

Right?

Emma Kingsley:

Like those are like opposing statements and like what Andrew just said.

Emma Kingsley:

Yeah.

Emma Kingsley:

Humans are super important and we have super important feelings

Emma Kingsley:

and really different experiences.

Emma Kingsley:

And also we're not that special.

Emma Kingsley:

Well,

Andrew Schwartz:

and I think you're onto something there.

Andrew Schwartz:

And actually this it's a shift from sort of either or thinking right.

Andrew Schwartz:

To like both am thinking.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

And I think that actually is fundamental and that's

Emma Kingsley:

kind of outside our entire system of like science and, and as what

Emma Kingsley:

humans, how humans have evolved up until this point that either or thinking.

Emma Kingsley:

Really gotten us to where we are.

Emma Kingsley:

Like, how can you run science experiments without either or thinking well,

Mary Kingsley:

Andrew, since you, you know, are theologian and you started

Mary Kingsley:

out as a student of theology, Then, you know, and you're real, very familiar

Mary Kingsley:

with, and I'm sure you've thought a lot about the fact that, you know, in

Mary Kingsley:

Genesis it sort of sets the stage for this duality of humans versus creation,

Mary Kingsley:

depending on how you read Genesis.

Mary Kingsley:

I mean, I know there's different ways of reading it and there's

Mary Kingsley:

different translations, but I think our culture, our civilization has

Mary Kingsley:

preceded on the assumption that humans are elevated above nature.

Mary Kingsley:

And you know, it's hard to say, oh, you know, you can't just say,

Mary Kingsley:

oh, that's incorrect or that's a misinterpretation or what?

Mary Kingsley:

That almost doesn't matter what it, what matters is that that's, that's

Mary Kingsley:

the assumption that civilization has.

Mary Kingsley:

Grown from.

Mary Kingsley:

Yeah.

Mary Kingsley:

And how do we go back and reexamine that?

Mary Kingsley:

How do you go back and say, wait a minute, you know, and I know there's

Mary Kingsley:

different ways of reading Genesis, whether or not man has dominion over

Mary Kingsley:

nature, which is a very different word from saying, what would the

Andrew Schwartz:

other word be a responsibility to care for nature?

Andrew Schwartz:

Mm-hmm

Mary Kingsley:

yes, humans have responsibility over nature.

Mary Kingsley:

And so there's this big assumption out there.

Mary Kingsley:

Humans need to be more connected with nature, but even that

Mary Kingsley:

statement sets us apart.

Mary Kingsley:

And this is repeating an idea that you said just a moment ago, we need to really

Mary Kingsley:

understand in a really deep way, in a really cellular way, our place in the

Mary Kingsley:

web, our place within the creative system and the way the world works before we

Mary Kingsley:

can really, I guess, kind of give up.

Mary Kingsley:

Our modus operendus of using the created world, the natural world for our own

Mary Kingsley:

constant support and growth and thriving.

Andrew Schwartz:

yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

The things you're saying have me going in a million directions in my mind, I

Andrew Schwartz:

even the word growth makes me think, oh yeah, that's another problem.

Andrew Schwartz:

Right?

Andrew Schwartz:

The assumption that we can have.

Andrew Schwartz:

Unlimited growth on a finite planet.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yes.

Andrew Schwartz:

Is a problematic assumption.

Andrew Schwartz:

I think theology, as you indicated, has a whole bunch of embedded assumptions that

Andrew Schwartz:

can play out in not just our religious lives, but also our political lives and

Andrew Schwartz:

our economic lives, our agriculture lives.

Andrew Schwartz:

Right.

Andrew Schwartz:

So, yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

How do we understand power, for example, what does it look like to be powerful?

Andrew Schwartz:

What does it look like to be weak?

Andrew Schwartz:

If we understand God is the most powerful, then that you know how we

Andrew Schwartz:

understand God's relation to the world.

Andrew Schwartz:

All of a sudden now has an impact on what we think power looks like in the world.

Andrew Schwartz:

Mm-hmm if that means being able to affect everything else

Andrew Schwartz:

without being affected by it.

Andrew Schwartz:

And now that that's what power looks like, then it's very,

Andrew Schwartz:

one-directional it's very top down H.

Andrew Schwartz:

Cool and authoritative, but that's not what we see in the natural world, right?

Andrew Schwartz:

Where things are much more symbiotic.

Andrew Schwartz:

They're much more give and receive much more balanced.

Andrew Schwartz:

And there's an interplay of both.

Andrew Schwartz:

And so actually I'm part of a group called Open and Relational Theology, or

Andrew Schwartz:

also part of process theology, which is proposing that perhaps that's not the

Andrew Schwartz:

right way to understand God as sort of the unilateral decider that is sort of

Andrew Schwartz:

sitting out there imposing upon the world, but never really being affected by the

Andrew Schwartz:

world, but that instead the world, as we've come to understand it, Is a complex

Andrew Schwartz:

web of interrelated moments in that if the world is a web of interrelation, then

Andrew Schwartz:

perhaps God is the most interrelated mm.

Andrew Schwartz:

In that God is not unaffected by the world, but is the

Andrew Schwartz:

most affected by the world.

Andrew Schwartz:

And in fact, maybe God's power is not just unilateral and coercive, but God's

Andrew Schwartz:

power is persuasive and cooperative.

Andrew Schwartz:

So if you understand God in different ways, what would that look like in

Andrew Schwartz:

changing the way that we understand our, our own role as beings with

Andrew Schwartz:

privilege and power in society.

Andrew Schwartz:

So I do think theology matters with respect to your question

Andrew Schwartz:

of Genesis and humanity.

Andrew Schwartz:

I think, you know, there's this special little idea that humans were

Andrew Schwartz:

created in the image of God mm-hmm , but again, what does that mean?

Andrew Schwartz:

Right?

Andrew Schwartz:

What is God?

Andrew Schwartz:

Like?

Andrew Schwartz:

What is that image like?

Andrew Schwartz:

Does that mean that we have sort of unilateral authority over the earth

Andrew Schwartz:

mm-hmm or does it mean that we are.

Andrew Schwartz:

In a position of moral responsibility for caring for the web of life, for which

Andrew Schwartz:

we are also dependent upon mm-hmm . So I think that dominion theology, which

Andrew Schwartz:

sometimes is linked to sort of colonial expansion mm-hmm is also being called

Andrew Schwartz:

into question by a growing number of people who even the Vatican has an entire

Andrew Schwartz:

department devoted to creation care.

Andrew Schwartz:

Oh.

Andrew Schwartz:

And I think that's a whole new frame to say, okay, well, our role is not to

Andrew Schwartz:

dominate nature, but to care for nature, which is not separate from caring for

Andrew Schwartz:

ourselves, because we too are dependent upon the health of a living earth.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

We are nature,

Mary Kingsley:

right?

Mary Kingsley:

Yes.

Mary Kingsley:

And that idea of power is so interesting because as humans, we have exerted

Mary Kingsley:

a lot of power and exploitation over nature, and you know, we build dams,

Mary Kingsley:

you build highways, you defy nature every day to sustain our way of life.

Mary Kingsley:

But how many ways are we seeing now that these are coming back to bite us?

Mary Kingsley:

And we're looking at these.

Mary Kingsley:

Ways of being on the planet, like for we're talking about for, you

Mary Kingsley:

know, generations that are coming to tell us it's not working.

Mary Kingsley:

it's not working anymore.

Mary Kingsley:

And there's a finiteness to us living on the planet in this way.

Mary Kingsley:

So power sort of gets turned around there.

Mary Kingsley:

Yeah, what's the real power when our power over creation creates a

Mary Kingsley:

situation where creation tells us we can't, we can't live here anymore?

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah, exactly.

Andrew Schwartz:

So that question of power relations actually gets smeared in a conversation

Andrew Schwartz:

that, that my friend, David Ray Griffin talks about with respect to deep ecology.

Andrew Schwartz:

So deep ecology is a movement that I don't know if you've probably seen like those

Andrew Schwartz:

pyramids that have sort of humanity at the top and other sort of nature below it.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

And then like, so that's like the ego perspective, but then you have a circle

Andrew Schwartz:

or something that humanities in, in that sort of circle instead of the pyramid.

Andrew Schwartz:

And it's the ego perspective and that's kind of signifying of this deep ecology

Andrew Schwartz:

frame that wants to say humanity is sort of on an equal continuum with respective

Andrew Schwartz:

value humans, aren't more valuable or less valuable than the rest of nature.

Andrew Schwartz:

All life is valuable.

Andrew Schwartz:

Mm-hmm and David Ray Griffin says maybe, maybe not, but.

Andrew Schwartz:

Maybe it would be helpful to distinguish types of value.

Andrew Schwartz:

And what he actually finds is that those creatures, like humans,

Andrew Schwartz:

that have sort of the greatest intensity of experience, right.

Andrew Schwartz:

We have arguably the, the more cognitively aware and conscious we are

Andrew Schwartz:

and the greater degree of sort of our.

Andrew Schwartz:

I don't know, capacities for experience and understanding the greater

Andrew Schwartz:

value we have in and for ourselves.

Andrew Schwartz:

But that doesn't mean that we have greater value for the ecosystem.

Andrew Schwartz:

So you get something like plankton, which is much lower on the intrinsic

Andrew Schwartz:

value scale, but much higher on the ecological value scale, and then

Andrew Schwartz:

humanity, which is maybe much higher on the intrinsic value scale, but much

Andrew Schwartz:

lower on the ecological value scale, cuz without humanity, you know, the

Andrew Schwartz:

planet could thrive without plankton.

Andrew Schwartz:

The planet could not.

Andrew Schwartz:

It's just one of those things where it's so interesting, different kinds of value.

Andrew Schwartz:

I mean then if you sort of put it all together, then maybe there is more

Andrew Schwartz:

or less an equilibrium of, of values.

Andrew Schwartz:

So I don't know.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Emma Kingsley:

Going back to your imagery before about the web I love that.

Emma Kingsley:

What if God is the web, you know, like what, and I just like, I'd

Emma Kingsley:

never thought about that before.

Emma Kingsley:

Like that's yeah.

Emma Kingsley:

The equilibrium between everything as opposed to being like this

Emma Kingsley:

separate or like disconnected thing.

Emma Kingsley:

Yeah.

Emma Kingsley:

Also it's so true without humans.

Emma Kingsley:

The planet would be rocking.

Emma Kingsley:

that's so

Mary Kingsley:

interesting to me.

Mary Kingsley:

You just said that I'm like, wow.

Mary Kingsley:

Yeah, the,

Emma Kingsley:

yeah.

Emma Kingsley:

And then, and then plankton, what's a plankton, what's one plankton.

Emma Kingsley:

Right.

Emma Kingsley:

But you're so right.

Emma Kingsley:

Plankton are super important.

Mary Kingsley:

yeah.

Mary Kingsley:

That's amazing to think about the fact that if humans vanished overnight,

Mary Kingsley:

then the planet would still thrive.

Emma Kingsley:

Yeah.

Emma Kingsley:

I mean, we've talked about it on here before, like we don't need

Emma Kingsley:

to save the earth at this point.

Emma Kingsley:

Like we all know the earth is gonna be just fine without us.

Emma Kingsley:

It's more, I think the problem at hand is like, are we concerned about ourselves?

Emma Kingsley:

like, you know, because really what we're killing is ourselves.

Mary Kingsley:

Where does the institute stand on that question?

Mary Kingsley:

Like, are we fighting for the Earth's survival?

Mary Kingsley:

Or are we fighting for human survival?

Mary Kingsley:

I

Andrew Schwartz:

think we would say that's not two separate issues.

Andrew Schwartz:

Mm-hmm, , mm-hmm, in that at least what I'm fighting for is for hope.

Andrew Schwartz:

Uh it's for a new kind of future mm-hmm, a future that, that it,

Andrew Schwartz:

where the, the world works for.

Andrew Schwartz:

All right.

Andrew Schwartz:

So it's the wellbeing of people and the planet and that, so there's this question

Andrew Schwartz:

of whether or not we can actually do it.

Andrew Schwartz:

Right.

Andrew Schwartz:

Um, yes.

Andrew Schwartz:

And the truth is, I don't know.

Andrew Schwartz:

I hope so.

Andrew Schwartz:

Are we gonna meet our 2030 goals?

Andrew Schwartz:

It seems increasingly unlikely that we're going to meet our

Andrew Schwartz:

sustainable development goals.

Andrew Schwartz:

Does that mean we should stop trying?

Andrew Schwartz:

Absolutely not.

Andrew Schwartz:

Because the same kinds of structures and systems that we need now to

Andrew Schwartz:

help a transition toward a more sustainable and equitable world and,

Andrew Schwartz:

and ecological civilization, it's the same kind of system and structure that

Andrew Schwartz:

we need to rebuild after collapse.

Andrew Schwartz:

If there were to be a collapse of civilization as we know it.

Andrew Schwartz:

So, yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

Where do we stand on that?

Andrew Schwartz:

Are we saving humanity?

Andrew Schwartz:

Are we trying to minimize unnecessary suffering?

Andrew Schwartz:

Mm-hmm . I don't

Emma Kingsley:

know.

Emma Kingsley:

Yeah.

Emma Kingsley:

And so correct me if I'm wrong.

Emma Kingsley:

But my understanding is that EcoCiv is basically founded on and operates as

Emma Kingsley:

you've made space to ask the questions and to like, sort of tease them out.

Emma Kingsley:

Because if we're not even entertaining these ideas, then what are we doing?

Emma Kingsley:

Right.

Emma Kingsley:

So that's really cool.

Emma Kingsley:

Like, you know, a lot of times it can feel really hopeless to be like,

Emma Kingsley:

is anyone even thinking about this?

Emma Kingsley:

But it's nice.

Emma Kingsley:

that there?

Emma Kingsley:

Like, are people thinking about them?

Emma Kingsley:

And then so in the Institute, are there tangible action things that are happening?

Emma Kingsley:

From these conversations and sort of, what does that look like?

Emma Kingsley:

Yeah.

Emma Kingsley:

Is it

Mary Kingsley:

courses, is it, what do you offer?

Mary Kingsley:

So

Andrew Schwartz:

we've got a number of projects that are more in the,

Andrew Schwartz:

the sort of applied practice piece.

Andrew Schwartz:

And then we have a program that's more on the sort of theory side of things.

Andrew Schwartz:

And then, you know, the it's really the, the theory informing the practice

Andrew Schwartz:

and then the practice providing data that rein informs a reevaluation of

Andrew Schwartz:

the theory and the sort of circular feedback loop process for us.

Andrew Schwartz:

So on the practical side, we're working with the wellbeing economy

Andrew Schwartz:

Alliance, which, uh, and, and have launched a, a California hub.

Andrew Schwartz:

For wellbeing economies are working with the city of Pomona on trying

Andrew Schwartz:

to develop worker own cooperatives and, and other sorts of things.

Andrew Schwartz:

But effectively the wellbeing economy movement is about rethinking the

Andrew Schwartz:

economy from the lens of wellbeing, as opposed to growth and profit primarily.

Andrew Schwartz:

So what's the purpose of the economy?

Andrew Schwartz:

Is it to serve a wealthy few in the planet, basically just serves

Andrew Schwartz:

to feed the economy or should the economy be serving the whole,

Andrew Schwartz:

including the wellbeing of the planet?

Andrew Schwartz:

So it's like sort of a, a, a shifting of the paradigm on what is an economy and how

Andrew Schwartz:

does it function and what are our goals?

Andrew Schwartz:

If our goals are to promote overall wellbeing, as opposed to just

Andrew Schwartz:

increasing profits for a few, then we do things differently.

Andrew Schwartz:

Ownership looks different, banking looks different.

Andrew Schwartz:

What we measure looks different.

Andrew Schwartz:

So maybe, um, something like the, the kingdom of Bhutan's happiness index, uh,

Andrew Schwartz:

becomes a, a helpful measure as opposed to just measuring, you know, gross

Andrew Schwartz:

domestic product or something like that.

Andrew Schwartz:

We also have a program working on, uh, water partnership with w 12 plus

Andrew Schwartz:

water for South Sudan, others where water scarcity becomes an issue.

Andrew Schwartz:

And it's been a major issue and in places like Cape town and others.

Andrew Schwartz:

So rather than just saying, okay, well, let's give people

Andrew Schwartz:

water because they're thirsty.

Andrew Schwartz:

Let's dig another well let's step back for a second is what EcoCiv

Andrew Schwartz:

wants to do and says, okay, well, What has led to water scarcity problems?

Andrew Schwartz:

How could we change the way that, you know, we farm?

Andrew Schwartz:

How could we change the way that we give access to clean water to people?

Andrew Schwartz:

Once you start doing that kind of work, what we've noticed is that you quickly

Andrew Schwartz:

start working outside of, traditional sort of sectors or boundaries where it says,

Andrew Schwartz:

okay, this is not just a water issue.

Andrew Schwartz:

It's not just an agriculture issue.

Andrew Schwartz:

It's not just an education issue or an economic issue.

Andrew Schwartz:

It's sort of all of these things together.

Emma Kingsley:

Can you change a system from outside the system or...

Emma Kingsley:

is there then something that like our graduates of this

Emma Kingsley:

program becoming consultants?

Emma Kingsley:

how are you integrating these ideas into what's currently happening or does that

Emma Kingsley:

not even work because do you change things from the outside, in, or the inside out?

Andrew Schwartz:

Again, back to that question of either or, or both and.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

I hope that it's a both and and that that's my assumption is that that sort

Andrew Schwartz:

of big paradigm level civilizational level change is not something that

Andrew Schwartz:

just happens from the top down or from the outside or from the inside.

Andrew Schwartz:

But it's also the bottom up it's I mean, so it's both, and it's not

Andrew Schwartz:

just local, it's also global, uh, but not the exclusion of each other.

Andrew Schwartz:

So we work with partners on the ground in a local context because we think.

Andrew Schwartz:

Vital, we need these ideas and these solutions to sort of take root, if you

Andrew Schwartz:

will, in a local context and we need local sort of leadership to be the

Andrew Schwartz:

one that's really driving the boat.

Andrew Schwartz:

So I just use multiple different analogies.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

get it.

Andrew Schwartz:

Right.

Andrew Schwartz:

So, yeah, but if, but if it's just like individual people saying, well, I'm gonna

Andrew Schwartz:

stop using single use plastic, but we're not changing sort of bigger policies.

Andrew Schwartz:

Mm-hmm . Then we're also not, not, it's not enough.

Andrew Schwartz:

Right.

Andrew Schwartz:

So I think we need both.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Mary Kingsley:

Yeah.

Mary Kingsley:

We get into that on here sometimes talking about, yeah.

Mary Kingsley:

We tell people, you know, don't use the plastic straws and

Mary Kingsley:

don't wear microplastic, yoga pants and that sort of thing.

Mary Kingsley:

And so people will change, you know, one or two behaviors, but the question

Mary Kingsley:

is, and it, it bears asking, is this valuable if enough people take those

Mary Kingsley:

small steps and are, uh, become aware to that degree where they're actually

Mary Kingsley:

changing behaviors, is that enough?

Mary Kingsley:

Or is it really gonna take the bigger the policy changes at the top first, maybe the

Mary Kingsley:

behavior changes lead to policy changes.

Mary Kingsley:

And I think from what you're saying, I'm hearing.

Mary Kingsley:

I think it's actually both directions

Mary Kingsley:

. Emma Kingsley: Yeah.

Mary Kingsley:

And I guess back to my original question.

Mary Kingsley:

So the Institute for ecological civilization is attached

Mary Kingsley:

to a school or is it as a

Andrew Schwartz:

school?

Andrew Schwartz:

No.

Andrew Schwartz:

So it is not, it is it's own independent thing, but where it's confusing is

Andrew Schwartz:

that it's president and vice president are both attached to a school.

Andrew Schwartz:

So, okay.

Andrew Schwartz:

Philip Clayton and I are both professors with Claremont school theology

Andrew Schwartz:

mm-hmm so we do have positions and, and connections with schools.

Andrew Schwartz:

I mean, I also.

Andrew Schwartz:

Having an affiliate status with Willamette university and their

Andrew Schwartz:

sustainability Institute there.

Andrew Schwartz:

So I think we have connections in educational settings and we do some

Andrew Schwartz:

educational programs with our partner organization and things like that.

Andrew Schwartz:

We've just established actually are just launching a new office

Andrew Schwartz:

in, uh, Seoul through a partnership with hunch and university.

Andrew Schwartz:

And so we're excited about that, but the Institute itself, it's really

Andrew Schwartz:

working at the connection of, of sort.

Andrew Schwartz:

Bringing together, policy makers, government leaders, leaders in business

Andrew Schwartz:

leaders in nonprofits, and sort of community leaders together to basically

Andrew Schwartz:

collaborate on sort of these creative solutions that have this long term vision.

Andrew Schwartz:

Um, that's trying to understand the interconnection of social

Andrew Schwartz:

environmental challenges, take this sort of systems approach to

Andrew Schwartz:

addressing these, these complex issues.

Emma Kingsley:

Got it.

Emma Kingsley:

Got it.

Emma Kingsley:

Okay.

Emma Kingsley:

So it's like Aspen Institute or whatever.

Emma Kingsley:

Why not?

Emma Kingsley:

Sure.

Emma Kingsley:

Yeah.

Emma Kingsley:

It's like, no, not a

Andrew Schwartz:

think tank.

Andrew Schwartz:

There's a think tank component to what we do for sure.

Andrew Schwartz:

Okay.

Andrew Schwartz:

But we also are working on the ground to sort of test out those ideas

Andrew Schwartz:

with partners in, in local context.

Andrew Schwartz:

So that it's I think initially we played around with the idea of calling

Andrew Schwartz:

ourselves a think and action tank.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

Cool.

Andrew Schwartz:

because it's ideas themselves.

Andrew Schwartz:

Aren't enough to make a difference.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

You know, you need the theory to sort of guide the action.

Andrew Schwartz:

So it's not just aimless action.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

But you need the action to ground the theory.

Andrew Schwartz:

So it's not just totally, you know, impossible ideas that have no relevance.

Andrew Schwartz:

So it's that intersection of ideas and actions that we're trying to work at.

Andrew Schwartz:

And

Emma Kingsley:

it's the people with the current definitions that we have of

Emma Kingsley:

power, like the policy makers and such that are learning within this Institute

Emma Kingsley:

and coming to these conferences.

Emma Kingsley:

And so that's the education part for the, okay.

Mary Kingsley:

So and what is your main vehicle for bringing

Mary Kingsley:

all these people together?

Mary Kingsley:

Is it your conferences?

Mary Kingsley:

I know you have your podcast.

Mary Kingsley:

In what ways are you bringing these minds?

Mary Kingsley:

Voices together?

Andrew Schwartz:

Great question.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

So probably two different answers.

Andrew Schwartz:

There's the before COVID answer and the after COVID answer, we've certainly

Andrew Schwartz:

been doing a lot more on, on zoom and online the last couple years, which

Andrew Schwartz:

has actually turned out to be a very.

Andrew Schwartz:

Cost effective and carbon effective solution.

Andrew Schwartz:

Anyways, to communicate, we do have a, a podcast.

Andrew Schwartz:

We do, uh, webinars in, in, uh, public dialogues.

Andrew Schwartz:

We also do sort of more closed door, like private convenings mm-hmm and

Andrew Schwartz:

yes conferences, but also sort of like more like workshop kind of things where

Andrew Schwartz:

we work with stakeholders on visioning exercises sort of figure out, okay,

Andrew Schwartz:

where is it that we want to go as a community and then work backward from

Andrew Schwartz:

that to figure out the sort of path

Mary Kingsley:

forward in terms of your teaching and your students,

Mary Kingsley:

where do you find your students in the midst of all of this, and I'm sure in

Mary Kingsley:

your comparative theology teaching, you bring the, the ideas of the

Mary Kingsley:

Institute into your classroom and yeah.

Mary Kingsley:

Where do you find, where do you find the people that are sitting

Andrew Schwartz:

there?

Andrew Schwartz:

So our students, I mean, obviously they have, they come from varying backgrounds,

Andrew Schwartz:

varying experiences, varying context.

Andrew Schwartz:

Most of them are interested in making a difference.

Andrew Schwartz:

Mm.

Andrew Schwartz:

Not always clear on how to do that.

Andrew Schwartz:

Right.

Andrew Schwartz:

So it's like, I want a better world.

Andrew Schwartz:

I want a more equitable, sustainable world, but what can I do to be a part of.

Andrew Schwartz:

So in our, in our classwork, I mean, that's a lot of, of what we do when,

Andrew Schwartz:

when I teach courses on sort of ecological civilization is having

Andrew Schwartz:

students sort of come along for the journey on the reevaluating, their

Andrew Schwartz:

sort of worldview part, uh, changing our, our modes of thinking, but

Andrew Schwartz:

then connecting that to application.

Andrew Schwartz:

So I, as I said, I'd been largely inspired by John Cobb, who himself

Andrew Schwartz:

was a theologian and philosopher at, uh, Claremont school of theology.

Andrew Schwartz:

He also wrote not just books on theology, but also coauthored books on

Andrew Schwartz:

economics with people like Herman daily.

Andrew Schwartz:

He coauthored books on biology, Charles Birch.

Andrew Schwartz:

He was working on areas of psychology and education and physics.

Andrew Schwartz:

So he was stretching out saying, okay, theology is not just sort of a discipline

Andrew Schwartz:

that sits over there unto itself.

Andrew Schwartz:

But it's rethinking the most important issues of our day from your sort

Andrew Schwartz:

of faith perspective and that's the kind of theology that he would do.

Andrew Schwartz:

And I think that's the kind of theology that a lot of Claremont school theology

Andrew Schwartz:

does, which is thinking of issues of justice and wellbeing and engagement.

Andrew Schwartz:

Um, not just the sort of issues of, of spirituality apart from

Andrew Schwartz:

the world in which we live.

Mary Kingsley:

Yeah.

Mary Kingsley:

I love the idea of bringing theology and interweaving it into just real

Mary Kingsley:

world application and, uh, like on the ground day to day decision making, I.

Mary Kingsley:

In a lot of ways, our culture has separated theology from everyday life.

Mary Kingsley:

Not, you know, you can't say that for everybody and people have their

Mary Kingsley:

own individual ways of viewing that.

Mary Kingsley:

But I think as a culture, it's kind of

Emma Kingsley:

separate.

Emma Kingsley:

Yeah.

Emma Kingsley:

I thought, I totally think it depends.

Emma Kingsley:

I mean, I think in a lot of ways that's probably also a good thing.

Emma Kingsley:

Right.

Emma Kingsley:

I don't know.

Emma Kingsley:

Yeah.

Emma Kingsley:

Well, depends on your theology,

Mary Kingsley:

right?

Mary Kingsley:

There's so many

Mary Kingsley:

. Andrew Schwartz: I mean, I think

Mary Kingsley:

state is an important thing.

Mary Kingsley:

Yeah, absolutely.

Mary Kingsley:

I also think that disciplin has strength and weaknesses.

Mary Kingsley:

So the idea in academia that, you know, you have a special

Mary Kingsley:

focus, you know, physics.

Mary Kingsley:

Yeah.

Mary Kingsley:

I'm gonna focus on physics, but I'm gonna ignore biology.

Mary Kingsley:

I'm gonna ignore chemistry because those are not.

Mary Kingsley:

There's benefits to that sort of precision that you get when you

Mary Kingsley:

sort of focus on a discipline.

Mary Kingsley:

But the problem is, is that the world is not fragmented in that way.

Mary Kingsley:

Right.

Mary Kingsley:

You know, if I throw a ball to somebody, it involves not just physics,

Mary Kingsley:

but the makeup of the ball matters.

Mary Kingsley:

It's density.

Mary Kingsley:

It's how far away am I who's throwing the ball.

Mary Kingsley:

You know, my body is not just biological there's chemicals.

Mary Kingsley:

So anyways, I think the point being is, again, this interconnection of

Mary Kingsley:

things and overcoming the fragmentation of disciplines where theology is not

Mary Kingsley:

just one, among many disciplines.

Mary Kingsley:

That's part of that web of understanding.

Mary Kingsley:

Yeah.

Mary Kingsley:

The web,

Emma Kingsley:

I think back to the web, I think along these lines, I

Emma Kingsley:

love this question of if you are like at a social gathering and someone

Emma Kingsley:

asks you what you do, and you might say you're a teacher, but how would

Emma Kingsley:

you describe EcoCiv to a civilian?

Emma Kingsley:

Shall we say?

Emma Kingsley:

And you know, do you have an elevator speech about changing the li the

Emma Kingsley:

way that we live on the planet?

Emma Kingsley:

And what do people normally say to you or do, or they walk

Mary Kingsley:

away and go get a treat?

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah, right.

Andrew Schwartz:

Oh, you've, you've been in that elevator.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

So I think for me, the elevator pitch is, you know, I mean, we

Andrew Schwartz:

have our mission statement, right?

Andrew Schwartz:

Something about mm-hmm yes.

Andrew Schwartz:

You know, we work to promote the long-term wellbeing of

Andrew Schwartz:

people in the planet and people.

Andrew Schwartz:

Okay.

Andrew Schwartz:

Well, great.

Andrew Schwartz:

not many people I know that are sort of against the wellbeing

Andrew Schwartz:

of people or the planet.

Andrew Schwartz:

Like, but again, it doesn't sort of answer like, okay.

Andrew Schwartz:

So what do you do.

Andrew Schwartz:

Right.

Andrew Schwartz:

Mm-hmm you could say, well, we connect, I wanna change agents and, you know,

Andrew Schwartz:

thought leaders and activists and policy makers and all that together in order

Andrew Schwartz:

to bring about change, like, okay.

Andrew Schwartz:

So what, what exactly do you do yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

You know, I think that that is like an ongoing sort of challenge because

Andrew Schwartz:

one of the things that we do is to try to connect the dots between

Andrew Schwartz:

often fragmented conversations.

Andrew Schwartz:

Okay.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

But the challenge then is how do you talk about something

Andrew Schwartz:

without talking about everything?

Andrew Schwartz:

If everything's interconnected so it can quickly get outta hand

Andrew Schwartz:

and overwhelming for people.

Andrew Schwartz:

I think I've been playing around with the idea of describing what we do as,

Andrew Schwartz:

uh, well, maybe a think and action tank.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

That's working to connect the people around the world who are

Andrew Schwartz:

already working toward and calling.

Andrew Schwartz:

A fundamental paradigm shift in the way that human life

Andrew Schwartz:

is organized on this planet.

Andrew Schwartz:

Mm-hmm so that involves sort of in the spirit of systems theory, where you have

Andrew Schwartz:

like an iceberg and you think, okay, well, above the water is what you see

Andrew Schwartz:

of the iceberg, but that what we see are just the events around us, right?

Andrew Schwartz:

Species going, extinct, temperatures, arising, whatnot.

Andrew Schwartz:

Underneath the surface, you have things like patterns and trends.

Andrew Schwartz:

So sort of historical patterns of behavior and of results below that

Andrew Schwartz:

are sort of systems and structures.

Andrew Schwartz:

The very sort of the way that our society is organized and designed.

Andrew Schwartz:

And then at the very bottom of that, then you finally get to something like, um,

Andrew Schwartz:

mental modes or ways of thinking in that.

Andrew Schwartz:

I think most of what I would say EcoCiv is doing, obviously

Andrew Schwartz:

this is a very long elevator.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah,

Emma Kingsley:

it brought the floors.

Andrew Schwartz:

working at the sort of beneath the surface at, you know,

Andrew Schwartz:

addressing, uh, changing the way that we think changing the way that, uh,

Andrew Schwartz:

society is structured and organized.

Andrew Schwartz:

So alternative models for governance, for education, for economics and farming

Andrew Schwartz:

cetera in order to change patterns and trends so that the events above

Andrew Schwartz:

the surface start to change as well.

Andrew Schwartz:

So I would say we work to address the root causes of complex global

Andrew Schwartz:

issues through collaboration, with experts from around the world.

Andrew Schwartz:

That's good.

Andrew Schwartz:

That's a good line.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

I made all that up just now.

Andrew Schwartz:

That's good.

Andrew Schwartz:

You should keep that one.

Andrew Schwartz:

Let's let's post that one.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yes.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Emma Kingsley:

I will clip that and I'll send it to you so you can yeah.

Emma Kingsley:

Keep track, use it

Andrew Schwartz:

over and over.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Mary Kingsley:

Yeah.

Mary Kingsley:

let's say the elevator did get jammed and so I needed that and the person's standing

Mary Kingsley:

there next to you and everybody's okay.

Mary Kingsley:

And calm because you know, it's gonna go in a minute.

Mary Kingsley:

So this person says, oh, that's interesting.

Mary Kingsley:

Well, what do you do?

Mary Kingsley:

What are your.

Mary Kingsley:

Personal living practices or habits that on a personal yeah.

Mary Kingsley:

Level make you feel aligned with the mission of this Institute

Mary Kingsley:

for ecological civilization.

Mary Kingsley:

And

Emma Kingsley:

I'll add too to that, it could be a stranger on an elevator.

Emma Kingsley:

Who's just like, happens to be really into it.

Emma Kingsley:

Or like we get my mom and I personally like a lot of like good friends will

Emma Kingsley:

just consider us kind of like, oh, what should, you know, what should

Emma Kingsley:

I be doing about this or that?

Emma Kingsley:

And to me, especially if it's a good friend, I feel a little bit like,

Emma Kingsley:

Ooh, oh, tell you what to do, but I'm sure you get those questions.

Andrew Schwartz:

And it's also people look for you don't

Andrew Schwartz:

judge me for not being a yes.

Andrew Schwartz:

Maybe I on the, you know that yes.

Andrew Schwartz:

Maybe I'm a little bit of a hypocrite, you know?

Andrew Schwartz:

I, yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

And actually the, the inevitability of hypocrisy is part of the problem because,

Andrew Schwartz:

oh, that, and that's when I was saying, okay, Yes, we need to change individual

Andrew Schwartz:

action, but we also need to change the systems in which that individual

Andrew Schwartz:

action's taking place so that the possibility for action can be different.

Andrew Schwartz:

Mm-hmm we can't really live today in a way that is not exploitative of nature.

Andrew Schwartz:

If.

Andrew Schwartz:

The only way that we have access to sort of the things that we need to live require

Andrew Schwartz:

exploiting nature, because that's the overall system that we participate in.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

Not to say, oh, it's not my problem.

Andrew Schwartz:

It's the systems problem.

Andrew Schwartz:

Cuz I think that does get rid of sort of responsibility.

Andrew Schwartz:

And there are things that we can do in choices we make.

Andrew Schwartz:

But again, that it has to be both.

Andrew Schwartz:

If somebody ask me about individual practices, mm-hmm I would probably

Andrew Schwartz:

say something like I don't eat my dog and you're like, wait, why would you,

Andrew Schwartz:

I don't know anybody who eat their dog that's cuz they don't have a dog anymore.

Andrew Schwartz:

Mary.

Andrew Schwartz:

So years ago I, I studied jainism in India, which is like a very ancient

Andrew Schwartz:

religion that that sort of is known for its stance on nonviolence.

Andrew Schwartz:

And so you sometimes see pictures of these monks and nuns, like

Andrew Schwartz:

wearing a mask over their mouth.

Andrew Schwartz:

So they don't accidentally breathe in microorganisms and things in the air

Andrew Schwartz:

don't wanna swallow bugs, cuz those are life forms that need to be protected.

Andrew Schwartz:

Um, you know, sweeping the path in front of them.

Andrew Schwartz:

So they don't accidentally step on these critters.

Andrew Schwartz:

And I think there is something about living and learning with them that sort

Andrew Schwartz:

of sparked in me a new sort of evaluation of how I relate to other life forms.

Andrew Schwartz:

Mm-hmm and I remember coming home after being in India and looking at

Andrew Schwartz:

my dog and thinking, I love you little guy you're so sweet and furry and cute.

Andrew Schwartz:

You have, you know, such intelligence behind those eyes, whatever.

Andrew Schwartz:

I don't know.

Andrew Schwartz:

My, my dog was is basically a, a little person cuz you know, he is

Andrew Schwartz:

hand fed and he sleeps in the bed and yeah, he's he's not a dog.

Andrew Schwartz:

He doesn't know he is a dog.

Andrew Schwartz:

Um, yeah, we get it.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

You get it anyways.

Andrew Schwartz:

So.

Andrew Schwartz:

It got me thinking about yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

Sort of that anthropocentrism sort of about my own values on my goal of

Andrew Schwartz:

trying to minimize harm and suffering mm-hmm and um, I said, you know

Andrew Schwartz:

what, I'm gonna stop eating meat.

Andrew Schwartz:

Uh, because that seemed like one step that I can make and trying to minimize harm.

Andrew Schwartz:

Mm-hmm I'm not going to say that livestock is something

Andrew Schwartz:

that should be completely done away with in farming practices.

Andrew Schwartz:

Cuz I think there are benefits to livestock for the soil.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

But from an ethical perspective for me personally, just trying to

Andrew Schwartz:

think, how do I take seriously?

Andrew Schwartz:

The fact that humanity is not the only kind of life that matters.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

And that the life of other creatures matter too.

Andrew Schwartz:

And my dog is only one example of that.

Andrew Schwartz:

If I can extend that sort of, I don't know that value to my dog, why not extend it

Andrew Schwartz:

to a chicken or a cow or something else?

Andrew Schwartz:

So that's what I did.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

I totally get it doesn't mean I haven't had pepperoni ever

Andrew Schwartz:

in the last couple years.

Andrew Schwartz:

Like I I'm, I maybe have, I know it's trying to minimize the amount of suffering

Andrew Schwartz:

that I am personally responsible for that.

Emma Kingsley:

Well, yeah.

Emma Kingsley:

And like I do sometimes go to CVS and target.

Emma Kingsley:

Right.

Emma Kingsley:

You know, I do like, but it's definitely like far less than I

Emma Kingsley:

used to like, shop at those places.

Emma Kingsley:

And I don't, I'm not gonna go there fir that's not gonna

Emma Kingsley:

be my first like knee jerk.

Emma Kingsley:

Mm-hmm , I've learned a lot kind of in all of the things that we talk about here.

Emma Kingsley:

And at lady farmer, I've learned a lot about like resourcefulness and like, which

Emma Kingsley:

is also tied to like frugalness and just figuring out what I can do with what I

Emma Kingsley:

have first or what, you know, just like we were all so trained to anything that we

Emma Kingsley:

want or need is a click away or whatever.

Emma Kingsley:

So I generally have that concept, but no, I totally go

Emma Kingsley:

buy things in plastic contain.

Emma Kingsley:

Sometimes . Yeah.

Emma Kingsley:

So I,

Andrew Schwartz:

again, I think, imagine a world where you

Andrew Schwartz:

didn't even have that option.

Emma Kingsley:

Yeah, totally.

Emma Kingsley:

Right.

Emma Kingsley:

I know.

Emma Kingsley:

And some people really do live that way and it is, it is life changing.

Emma Kingsley:

Like you can decide.

Emma Kingsley:

Yeah.

Emma Kingsley:

You can make that decision for yourself that, that isn't an option.

Emma Kingsley:

Mm-hmm and my mom's much better at that.

Emma Kingsley:

She isn't mess around.

Emma Kingsley:

Well, um,

Mary Kingsley:

again, I'm not perfect and it's not, you know, it's not a perfect

Mary Kingsley:

world to your very good point, Andrew, how could we, you know, prescribe how

Mary Kingsley:

people are supposed to live in a system that doesn't give us any alternatives.

Mary Kingsley:

Yeah.

Mary Kingsley:

And we look for alternatives, we've tried to be creative.

Mary Kingsley:

We try to skirt around things,

Emma Kingsley:

you know, but usually those alternatives are gonna exclude

Emma Kingsley:

people and that's not helpful either.

Emma Kingsley:

Well,

Mary Kingsley:

I mean like, you know how we always say, just try to work

Mary Kingsley:

your way around the giant industry that's between you and your daily needs.

Emma Kingsley:

Yeah.

Emma Kingsley:

But a lot of it is an access issue.

Emma Kingsley:

Like so many don't have access to even information that like that's

Emma Kingsley:

better for them or whatever.

Emma Kingsley:

Right.

Emma Kingsley:

It's something

Mary Kingsley:

that's that is elusive.

Mary Kingsley:

it takes a lot of thought.

Mary Kingsley:

It takes a lot of creativity.

Mary Kingsley:

It takes a lot.

Mary Kingsley:

It's nuanced, nuanced takes a lot of awareness education and

Mary Kingsley:

certainly not a linear perfect thing.

Andrew Schwartz:

Mm-hmm and psychologically, it's probably good not

Andrew Schwartz:

to beat ourselves up for there you go.

Andrew Schwartz:

Failing to live up to an impossible standard in an imperfect world.

Andrew Schwartz:

Absolutely.

Emma Kingsley:

Yeah.

Emma Kingsley:

Who, what is that helping?

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

Right.

Andrew Schwartz:

But it doesn't mean that we can't try to, to be better.

Andrew Schwartz:

I, so I love that.

Andrew Schwartz:

The idea that, that Buckminster fuller promotes the idea that we need

Andrew Schwartz:

to, in order to change something, you need to build a new model that

Andrew Schwartz:

makes the existing model obsolete.

Andrew Schwartz:

Mm-hmm . Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

So I think does change happen from within the system or from what outside

Andrew Schwartz:

the system does it happen from the bottom up or from the top down?

Andrew Schwartz:

Does it happen at the local level or at a global level?

Andrew Schwartz:

And I think maybe the answer to all of that is yes?

Andrew Schwartz:

But I also think that rather than simply rising up and, and articulating what

Andrew Schwartz:

we're against is to be increasingly clear about what we're for and to not

Andrew Schwartz:

only declare that what we hope for in the kind of world that we want to

Andrew Schwartz:

build, but also to begin to do that.

Andrew Schwartz:

And I think there are pockets and communities that are already working

Andrew Schwartz:

under alternative models that are showing that another way is possible.

Andrew Schwartz:

And that's actually super exciting to me, um, that I think the more

Andrew Schwartz:

that people start doing that and say, listen, another way is possible.

Andrew Schwartz:

We're living it.

Andrew Schwartz:

Now we can scale this.

Andrew Schwartz:

We can replicate this.

Andrew Schwartz:

We can adapt it to a different context.

Andrew Schwartz:

The more and more that happens.

Andrew Schwartz:

I think the more and more the system will just sort of naturally change and new

Andrew Schwartz:

possibilities for each of us will emerge.

Andrew Schwartz:

Do you have

Mary Kingsley:

any examples of, of that?

Mary Kingsley:

What you just said?

Andrew Schwartz:

Probably some of the work that you all are doing.

Andrew Schwartz:

Mm-hmm uh, some lady farmers.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

That's a good

Emma Kingsley:

example.

Emma Kingsley:

Every single podcast guest probably.

Emma Kingsley:

Yeah.

Emma Kingsley:

On this show.

Emma Kingsley:

Yeah.

Emma Kingsley:

Mm-hmm well,

Mary Kingsley:

we, we do talk a lot about like, oh, the alternate ways of farming

Mary Kingsley:

and the alternate sources of meat, the alternate way of dressing yourself.

Mary Kingsley:

Mm-hmm, alternate way of things you need to use in your

Mary Kingsley:

house every day, you know, slow

Andrew Schwartz:

food movement, the slow clothing movement, all these things I

Andrew Schwartz:

think are movements that are examples of people saying another way is possible.

Andrew Schwartz:

Let's live into that.

Mary Kingsley:

Yeah.

Mary Kingsley:

Yes.

Mary Kingsley:

And the sustainable farming, regenerative farming.

Mary Kingsley:

Movement where we're, we're talking about the good work dirt and restoring the soil.

Mary Kingsley:

Mm-hmm because it's so fundamental to life on the planet.

Mary Kingsley:

And speaking of the interdependence of humans in nature, you know, soil

Mary Kingsley:

and humans and the, the microbiome and, and the soil as reflected in our

Mary Kingsley:

bodies is it, it's huge examples that probably the most primary example of

Mary Kingsley:

that and the place where that humanity will cease to be able to thrive.

Mary Kingsley:

If we really, really kill our

Emma Kingsley:

soil.

Emma Kingsley:

I have a question, the million dollar question.

Emma Kingsley:

I don't know if you get these a lot, but we sure do.

Emma Kingsley:

So what are the big.

Emma Kingsley:

Corporations and the people and the movements and everything

Emma Kingsley:

that, that like is doing it right.

Emma Kingsley:

And who can we support?

Emma Kingsley:

Because me, in my experience, I'm a mere consumer who I'm just learning

Emma Kingsley:

about all these things and the pretty much, the best way that I know how

Emma Kingsley:

to engage is to engage with my dollar and to engage with these behaviors and

Emma Kingsley:

patterns that I'm already familiar with.

Emma Kingsley:

But I wanna redirect that energy.

Emma Kingsley:

So do you have an answer to that?

Emma Kingsley:

Are there any corporations that are getting it right in any way?

Emma Kingsley:

Or who do we throw our dollars at?

Andrew Schwartz:

That's a, a really good question.

Andrew Schwartz:

I.

Andrew Schwartz:

You know, you get people like, I mean, Patagonia gets patted on the back a lot

Andrew Schwartz:

for trying to put it values where it's

Mary Kingsley:

money, where its mouth there values are.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah, yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

You, something like that, you know?

Andrew Schwartz:

And then you get groups like Amazon get completely ripped apart for the opposite.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

I guess I would want to say, well, let's step back and even question the concept of

Andrew Schwartz:

these big corporations in the first place.

Andrew Schwartz:

Mm-hmm, maybe prioritizing putting our dollars into, to local

Andrew Schwartz:

initiatives, to local businesses.

Andrew Schwartz:

Mm-hmm to work your own cooperatives places where more money is, is sort of

Andrew Schwartz:

being invested in a local community of, into a circular economy rather than money.

Andrew Schwartz:

That's leaving a local community and being invested in large corporations where more

Andrew Schwartz:

and more is, is going into the hands of a few people at the top of those businesses.

Andrew Schwartz:

I don't know.

Andrew Schwartz:

I think that million dollar question is maybe problematic because

Andrew Schwartz:

it's a million dollar question.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

Big.

Andrew Schwartz:

It should be like a $10,000 question at a local.

Andrew Schwartz:

You know what I mean?

Andrew Schwartz:

Like good point.

Mary Kingsley:

Yeah.

Mary Kingsley:

I like that.

Emma Kingsley:

Yeah.

Emma Kingsley:

But at the same time, I think with a million dollars,

Emma Kingsley:

depending on how you look at it.

Emma Kingsley:

a million dollars could do a lot more.

Andrew Schwartz:

If you have a million dollars and you would like to donate

Andrew Schwartz:

that to EcoCiv please reach out.

Andrew Schwartz:

He would love to accept your money.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah, I completely agree.

Andrew Schwartz:

Well, it's the thing,

Emma Kingsley:

like there are, there are powers in the current

Emma Kingsley:

system, the way that it exists.

Emma Kingsley:

That the few people at the top, not, they're not all evil.

Emma Kingsley:

And like, there are really cool things happening.

Emma Kingsley:

And with a lot of money comes a lot of power.

Emma Kingsley:

And I think that the unfortunate thing is that I, I feel like a lot of them are

Emma Kingsley:

just like do sometimes will just do things with the, and we don't know, you know,

Andrew Schwartz:

and I think the B Corp kind of movement is, is an attempt to

Andrew Schwartz:

try to identify corporations that could, that could be more trusting and, and

Andrew Schwartz:

prioritize those who are interested in a sort of divestment movement, sort of.

Andrew Schwartz:

It's not just divesting from fossil fuel investments, but it's also

Andrew Schwartz:

reinvesting in companies and in practices that are more sustainable

Andrew Schwartz:

and regenerative to the planet.

Andrew Schwartz:

But I think for us, I published books through Amazon.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

I, I mean, we're doing a, an online podcast right now that would not

Andrew Schwartz:

be possible if it weren't for technology and for companies that

Andrew Schwartz:

are creating those technologies.

Andrew Schwartz:

So I'm not anti-business by any means.

Andrew Schwartz:

Mm-hmm, , I'm not anti-technology or innovation by any means, but I am pro-life

Andrew Schwartz:

in the sense of pro wellbeing of both people and the planet and the sort of

Andrew Schwartz:

flourishing of life in all of its forms.

Andrew Schwartz:

Mm-hmm . And I think sometimes that means having to move away from a

Andrew Schwartz:

model that thrives in a, a globalized context and then restructure a

Andrew Schwartz:

neuro more localized context.

Andrew Schwartz:

Mm-hmm so for example, if farmers in India, Are primarily growing

Andrew Schwartz:

wheat and they're using that wheat and they're shipping it overseas

Andrew Schwartz:

in order to, you know, so they're based, they're not growing food,

Andrew Schwartz:

but they're growing a product.

Andrew Schwartz:

Sure.

Andrew Schwartz:

A commodity.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

You now you're you're right.

Andrew Schwartz:

You're you're right.

Andrew Schwartz:

You're growing a commodity rather than something that's edible.

Andrew Schwartz:

So now, I mean, you know, you're not feeding your family on what you're

Andrew Schwartz:

growing, so you get farmers who are starving to death, which makes no sense.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

If you're supposed to be growing food, but that's the economic

Andrew Schwartz:

model for the agricultural system.

Andrew Schwartz:

I know it's crazy.

Emma Kingsley:

And you don't even have to go all the way to India for that.

Emma Kingsley:

Like we're doing that in America.

Emma Kingsley:

Right.

Mary Kingsley:

You're welcome everyone.

Mary Kingsley:

Right.

Mary Kingsley:

Right.

Mary Kingsley:

Is there anything that, that you see in your students or yeah.

Mary Kingsley:

What inspires you?

Mary Kingsley:

Hmm.

Mary Kingsley:

Why do you look at and think.

Mary Kingsley:

Wow.

Mary Kingsley:

We're really making progress.

Mary Kingsley:

We're going

Andrew Schwartz:

in the right direction.

Andrew Schwartz:

I get inspired by people.

Andrew Schwartz:

Mm-hmm I get inspired every time I listen to somebody like van Don Shiva talk,

Andrew Schwartz:

uh, which is why I thought of India.

Andrew Schwartz:

I get inspired when I talk to people like, uh, David Corton and Jeremy lent,

Andrew Schwartz:

who just came out with a great new book, Jeremy lent on, uh, the web of meaning.

Andrew Schwartz:

I get inspired when I listen to podcasts and to learn more about

Andrew Schwartz:

groups like yours, where people are.

Andrew Schwartz:

So I think what inspires me is that I, the more I learn, the more, I feel like

Andrew Schwartz:

I'm not alone in my conviction, that mm-hmm, our current dominant systems

Andrew Schwartz:

and ways of thinking need an overhaul and that we need something radically

Andrew Schwartz:

different so that all people can thrive.

Andrew Schwartz:

Mm-hmm there's I think we're on the brink of something really exciting.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

It seems like we're at the end of an age and the beginning of a new one

Andrew Schwartz:

and what that new one will look like is not yet clear we're at the end

Emma Kingsley:

of the age of Aquarius

Mary Kingsley:

well, it does seem like there is an eruption of these ideas and

Mary Kingsley:

these discussions where I've been around a lot longer than you, but I can't imagine,

Mary Kingsley:

like 30 years ago having a discussion.

Mary Kingsley:

Like this with anybody or even thinking these things.

Mary Kingsley:

So yeah, it is hopeful.

Mary Kingsley:

It is exciting.

Mary Kingsley:

And we get really excited about it.

Mary Kingsley:

And especially, you know, on this show, we know such a variety of people in

Mary Kingsley:

so many different spaces, but all of it sort of boils down to the good dirt

Emma Kingsley:

yeah.

Emma Kingsley:

It's really crazy how that happens in a funny way.

Emma Kingsley:

Yeah.

Emma Kingsley:

So you mentioned slow food and slow clothing and all that.

Emma Kingsley:

And that sort of summed up into this thing called slow living and lady farmer talk.

Emma Kingsley:

We talk a lot about slow living can mean a lot of different things, but

Emma Kingsley:

we're wondering what it means to you.

Emma Kingsley:

And if you feel you are able to embrace the concept in your

Andrew Schwartz:

life, it's a concept that I, I fully appreciate.

Andrew Schwartz:

In one that I struggle to implement.

Andrew Schwartz:

fair.

Andrew Schwartz:

Whether it's talking fast or not taking time to smell the roses,

Andrew Schwartz:

so to speak Uhhuh so there's the great line that small is beautiful.

Andrew Schwartz:

Mm-hmm and I think that that is something that's also sort of captured by this slow

Andrew Schwartz:

living movement that you're advocating.

Andrew Schwartz:

It's a good thing.

Andrew Schwartz:

it seems right.

Andrew Schwartz:

It seems like it's the right direction, right?

Andrew Schwartz:

I mean it's.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Emma Kingsley:

And why do you feel like you aren't unable to, or you

Emma Kingsley:

just don't or like what, what do you feel like is the in between, where

Emma Kingsley:

are you chat and where you are?

Emma Kingsley:

Yeah, we're workshopping now, you know where this is a,

Andrew Schwartz:

probably add habits that I've just developed over a lifetime

Andrew Schwartz:

that I've not yet shed mm-hmm so I think it's not that it's impossible

Andrew Schwartz:

to adopt mm-hmm for me personally, to adopt a, a, a slow living frame.

Andrew Schwartz:

I think it's mm-hmm, , it's just a matter of doing it.

Mary Kingsley:

Mm-hmm we say slow, living's just a matter of, uh, being a,

Mary Kingsley:

a conscious of how you spend your time.

Mary Kingsley:

And your resources.

Mary Kingsley:

That's all it is really is like it's a consciousness is simply

Mary Kingsley:

what it is and making decision around those consciousness.

Mary Kingsley:

I

Emma Kingsley:

imagine you probably do a little bit more slow living than

Emma Kingsley:

you're giving yourself credit for

Emma Kingsley:

I mean, the fact that you have Institute for ecological civilization.

Emma Kingsley:

Yeah.

Emma Kingsley:

I think that's pretty slow living

Mary Kingsley:

well in my book, certainly helping people evolve towards those ideas.

Mary Kingsley:

For sure.

Mary Kingsley:

Yeah.

Mary Kingsley:

So tell us, what does the good dirt mean to you?

Mary Kingsley:

And that could be literally, or anyway you would, and metaphorically

Mary Kingsley:

anyway, you would answer

Andrew Schwartz:

that so many good ways to think about it, right?

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

It's like, you know, when you think about getting the dirt on somebody, you

Andrew Schwartz:

think you're getting the goods on them.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

But that's also getting the bad on them.

Andrew Schwartz:

So it's like getting, you know, that dirt is a bad thing cuz

Andrew Schwartz:

it's like make somebody unclean.

Andrew Schwartz:

But then you think, oh, well, no, this is good dirt.

Andrew Schwartz:

Uh, which is probably accurately described as soil.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

Uh, cuz it's, you know, healthy, you know, full of life, but in a sense

Andrew Schwartz:

I could see, I mean, I'd be curious on, on what you think, what all the

Andrew Schwartz:

different things you mean by good dirt, but I think there's something about a

Andrew Schwartz:

positive hopeful sort of take on life

Mary Kingsley:

mm-hmm yeah.

Mary Kingsley:

Yeah.

Mary Kingsley:

There are many different answers to that question as there are guests on this show.

Emma Kingsley:

Yeah.

Emma Kingsley:

everybody that will forever be

Mary Kingsley:

true.

Mary Kingsley:

and we love it.

Mary Kingsley:

So

Emma Kingsley:

yeah.

Emma Kingsley:

So is there anything else that you feel you would like the listeners

Emma Kingsley:

to understand about the work that you're doing or anything else

Emma Kingsley:

you feel like we didn't touch.

Andrew Schwartz:

So the, the language of ecological civilization, sometimes

Andrew Schwartz:

people hear that and it feels like we're proposing sort of a top down

Andrew Schwartz:

universal colonizing kind of solution.

Andrew Schwartz:

That's one size fits all.

Andrew Schwartz:

And the truth is that it, it couldn't be further from that.

Andrew Schwartz:

Right.

Andrew Schwartz:

What we're hoping for are very contextualized solutions, right?

Andrew Schwartz:

That ecological civilization looks different in different places around the

Andrew Schwartz:

world, but that we do that on a global.

Andrew Schwartz:

I think, yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

I mean, if, if your neighbor's polluting the air, um, and you are not, it's

Andrew Schwartz:

like, oh, well you still breed that air.

Andrew Schwartz:

Right.

Andrew Schwartz:

Mm-hmm um, so we can't think just in terms of, of the local, to the

Andrew Schwartz:

exclusion of the global, I think we need to be thinking in terms of, uh,

Andrew Schwartz:

transforming communities of communities that sort of happen locally, but then

Andrew Schwartz:

also are expanding to sort of like this web of life that keeps coming up.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

Wonderful.

Emma Kingsley:

Yes.

Emma Kingsley:

How about we, have you tell people how they can engage more with the

Emma Kingsley:

Institute for ecological civilization or where they can find you, or like

Emma Kingsley:

you mentioned some books you've written tell us all of those things.

Emma Kingsley:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

So an ecological civilization, what we mean is,

Andrew Schwartz:

you know, when we say that is we're talking about transforming.

Andrew Schwartz:

Society in a way that will promote the flourishing of life for the long term

Andrew Schwartz:

wellbeing of people on the planet.

Andrew Schwartz:

That is definitely not something that we propose to be able to do on our own.

Andrew Schwartz:

It's a collaborative effort.

Andrew Schwartz:

So we actually are always looking for friends and partners and people

Andrew Schwartz:

to work with voices that we can elevate people that we can learn from.

Andrew Schwartz:

And examples that people are, are leading already that are sort of

Andrew Schwartz:

living into that hope in that vision.

Andrew Schwartz:

So if you are such a person and you wanna reach out to us, please

Andrew Schwartz:

check us out at ecociv.org and we'd love to connect with you.

Andrew Schwartz:

What about your books?

Andrew Schwartz:

Oh yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

Well, I wrote some books.

Andrew Schwartz:

I don't know.

Andrew Schwartz:

I mean, some are better.

Andrew Schwartz:

Okay.

Andrew Schwartz:

So one, one that relevant, I guess, to this is, uh, a book that my co-founder

Andrew Schwartz:

Philip Clayton and I co-authored together.

Andrew Schwartz:

It's called "What is Ecological Civilization".

Andrew Schwartz:

Okay.

Andrew Schwartz:

It's really sort of a, a question answer book.

Andrew Schwartz:

Um, I think we had like seven or eight questions that sort of tried to get at the

Andrew Schwartz:

heart of what an introductory statement on, on what in the world do we mean?

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

By ecological civilization.

Andrew Schwartz:

So that's not a bad place to start to get a sense of what we're up to.

Andrew Schwartz:

Of course our, our website has other info.

Andrew Schwartz:

Um, there's a blog that we've got going and a bunch of videos on our

Andrew Schwartz:

YouTube account with interviews and, and webinars and, and special

Andrew Schwartz:

guests where we continuing.

Andrew Schwartz:

To, to flesh out this, this concept and a podcast, right.

Andrew Schwartz:

And a podcast, great E podcast.

Andrew Schwartz:

So all of that can be checked out on our website if you wanna learn more.

Andrew Schwartz:

And there's always more in the works.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

Um, so be on the lookout for all the fun, exciting things that we've got going

Andrew Schwartz:

on, including the international forum on ecological civilization, um, that's coming

Andrew Schwartz:

up, it's AKA the Claremont eco forum.

Andrew Schwartz:

So this is our 15th international forum that we're doing with our partners across

Andrew Schwartz:

from China and other places it's scheduled for May 26th through 28th, it will be

Andrew Schwartz:

fully online and it's open to the public.

Andrew Schwartz:

Oh.

Andrew Schwartz:

So if you're interested in learning more.

Andrew Schwartz:

About ecological civilization.

Andrew Schwartz:

And this year's theme is, is on communities.

Andrew Schwartz:

So rethinking rural life, urban life, and even digital communities for an

Andrew Schwartz:

ecological civilization, then, uh, yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

Check it

Mary Kingsley:

out.

Mary Kingsley:

It's super cool show.

Mary Kingsley:

Interesting.

Mary Kingsley:

I'm definitely gonna check that

Emma Kingsley:

out.

Emma Kingsley:

Well, thank you so much.

Emma Kingsley:

This was so fun and I'm so happy to be connected.

Emma Kingsley:

And I can't wa I feel like we could have so many more conversations.

Emma Kingsley:

Yes.

Mary Kingsley:

I hope we do.

Mary Kingsley:

I hope we do.

Mary Kingsley:

And

Andrew Schwartz:

yeah, it would be fun.

Andrew Schwartz:

Yeah.

Andrew Schwartz:

I appreciate the chance to talk

Mary Kingsley:

with you.

Mary Kingsley:

Yeah.

Mary Kingsley:

Thank you.

Mary Kingsley:

We appreciate your time.

Mary Kingsley:

So thank you so much.

Mary Kingsley:

I

Emma Kingsley:

thank you for tuning in to the good dirt podcast.

Emma Kingsley:

If you enjoyed this episode, we hope you'll share it with

Emma Kingsley:

a friend to spread the good

Mary Kingsley:

dirt.

Mary Kingsley:

This show is produced by lady farmer, a slow living lifestyle community,

Mary Kingsley:

and the original music is composed and performed by John Kingsley.

Mary Kingsley:

For more from lady

Emma Kingsley:

farmer.

Emma Kingsley:

Follow us on Instagram at we are lady farmer.

Emma Kingsley:

That's we are lady farmer or join us online at www.Ladyfarmer.com.

Emma Kingsley:

We'll see you next time on the Good Dirt goodbye.

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