Mission/About Us

For 45 years, the Institute for Social Ecology has provided community-based educational programs, popular education and organizing assistance to social and political movements, informed by a community-centered vision of positive, ecologically-oriented social change.

Social Ecology n.” description=”1: a coherent radical critique of current social, political, and anti-ecological trends. 2: a reconstructive, ecological, communitarian, and ethical approach to society.

Social Ecology advocates a reconstructive and transformative outlook on social and environmental issues, sowing seedsand promotes a directly democratic, confederal politics. Social Ecology envisions a moral economy that moves beyond scarcity and hierarchy, toward a world that reharmonizes human communities with the natural world, while celebrating diversity, creativity and freedom.

The Institute for Social Ecology has been a pioneer in the exploration of ecological approaches to food production, alternative technologies, and urban design, and has played an essential, catalytic role in movements to challenge nuclear power, global injustices and unsustainable biotechnologies, while building participatory, community-based alternatives. The Institute strives to be an agent of social transformation, demonstrating the skills, ideas and relationships that can nurture vibrant, self-governed, healthy communities.

It is our core belief that the human potential to play a creative role in natural and social evolution can be realized, thereby allowing us to foster communities free from hierarchy, social inequity, and ecological degradation. The Institute is committed to the central importance of an anti-authoritarian, ecological, and utopian vision for our time. We seek to implement direct democracy in our communities, and ground our practical work in a coherent body of political, ecological, and ethical principles.

From the earliest antinuclear and ecology movements to current actions against pervasive militarism and corporate globalism, the ISE has inspired people involved in social change to work toward a humane, ecological, and liberatory society. As an agent of social transformation, we work to demonstrate the skills, ideas, and relationships that can nurture vibrant, self-governed, ecological communities, remaking ourselves as we work to remake society.

 

Our current activities include:

Online Education

The Institute for Social Ecology offers online courses on a variety of ever-expanding topics.Our seminars combine weekly interactive video seminars with ISE faculty and participants from across the globe, video lectures and readings, and online discussion forums.

Social Ecology Intensives

Each year, we offer a Social Ecology Intensive that brings together ISE faculty, local activists and scholars, as well as participants from around the world for a week of exploring social-ecological transformation in theory and practice. Combining classes, workshops, guest lectures, and field trips, participants learn the fundamentals of Social Ecology and apply them to a variety of contemporary struggles and issues.  It is always an inspiring experience of radical education,  political strategizing, and utopian envisioning.

 

 

Annual Gatherings

Since 2007 the Institute for Social Ecology has held annual summer gatherings. These weekends have been an occasion for both new and long-time associates of the Institute to discuss current issues, workshop writing projects, and renew a sense of community in the beautiful Vermont countryside.

 

 

Activism

The ISE’s recent activist focuses include fostering various democratic municipalist organizing projects such as the Symbiosis network, contributing to anticapitalist movements, food justice work, and grassroots climate justice organizing. More information here.

 

Print and Multimedia Archives

We have an extensive online library of texts related to social ecology, available here. We also host a large collection of texts in a variety of global languages other than English. We regularly publish Harbinger: A Journal of Social Ecology, dedicated to the political and theoretical development of social ecology.