“Ecological Challenges” conference in Oslo

The weekend immediately following the gigantic People’s Climate March in New York City, social ecologists and others will be gathering in Oslo for this important event:

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Ecological Challenges: Oslo 2014 Conference
25-27 September 2014

The ecology movement deals with the greatest social and political challenge of our time: climate change. How should we meet this challenge? Some claim that democracy is to slow to solve the climate crisis, and that authoritarian measures are necessary to create a greener future. At the conference we will explore the idea of participatory democracy as a counter argument to this claim. How do differences in scale (from the local to the global) decide the ways in which we confront environmental challenges? And what does this mean in terms of strategies for the ecology movement?

Our conference, Ecological Challenges, aims to provide a space where different schools of the ecology movement and various researchers can come together to discuss the future of our cities, environmental ethics and the social dimension of ecology. This conference is a rare event in that it involves both academics who are working on these themes, as well as activists from the ecology movement. The conference sets out to strengthen our common goals for an ecological society and will set new important directions for ecological politics.

Ecological Challenges is organized by New Compass and the Department of Sociology and Human Geography at the University of Oslo. We organize the event on the assumption that activists from the ecology movements can benefit from a theoretical reflection on its positions and practice, and that academics can benefit from discussing their research with movement actors from and contend with their perspectives. Still, we raise the question: how this can happen in practice?

Register today and join our discussions!  More information is at http://new-compass.net/2014conference

See you in Oslo in September!

Please share this call to friends, researchers, and activists.

2 Replies to ““Ecological Challenges” conference in Oslo”

  1. Good afternoon – I am just reading a book by E.F. Schumacher called “A Guide for the Perplexed” in which he makes a distinction between convergent problems (solutions for which come easily/relatively easily out of discussion/consideration about them) versus divergent problems (solutions for which are often diametrically opposed such that developing or advancing ‘a’ solution is nigh impossible… unless and until we approach it from a higher level.

    I think it is fascinating reading and feels more ‘right’ than anything else I know.


    Kim Smith, Bermuda


    Any survey of the actions of mining corporations, logging companies, chemical companies, Oil, and gas groups, in association with governments , and crime syndicates [growing and making drugs] will reveal that they are actively involved in the pollution of the environment of the earth. They are ‘environmental criminals’ committing ‘ECOCIDE’………and denying all the evidence, and the accusations! Oil Pollution can be seen across the world and the oil companies persistently deny their responsibility, and the consequences.

    The crime of Ecocide has been identified by the lawyer Polly Higgins. She has been particularly concerned to devise a law for the UN. She wishes to apply the Law of Ecocide to natural events as well as to humans; to corporations as well as individuals; to those in command and control as well as to those whose defence is that they were doing as they were ‘ordered’.

    So what is ‘ecocide’? It is when human agents are actively involved in the damage, loss, destruction of ecosystems of a given territory to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been or will be severely diminished. As the law stands at the moment ‘abstract agents’ such as corporations, or syndicates, or governments, cannot be held responsible for ECOCIDE. Only human agents can be accused, prosecuted, called to account, for their environmental crimes.

    The International Lawyer, Polly Higgins, wants to identify all those in command and control of their corporations and to render them responsible for the consequences of their ecocide behaviour , and subject to investigation and prosecution.
    She also wants to apply the Law of Ecocide to natural events during which vast areas of the environment are damaged following typhoons/ tornadoes, storms/earthquakes/forest fires/floods/tsunamis/droughts: all of which may have been triggered by human mismanagement of the environment and the initiation of climate change.
    I am proposing that Social Ecology should pursue new directions which would lead it to direct action to prosecute/fine/imprison/control ‘environmental criminals, and clearly identify ‘environmental crimes’ and support the work of Polly Higgins. Voluntarism is no answer to crime syndicates and corporate crimes.

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