A Chronology of the ISE

Established in 1974 and incorporated in 1981, the ISE has been a global leader in the struggle for a social and ecological society. The ISE has played a historic and catalytic role in movements against nuclear power, GMOs & biotechnology, global exploitation, and for indigenous rights and women’s liberation. We have also been a crucial resource for engaged scholars and students, having collaborated with colleges and universities throughout the American Northeast and beyond. The following chronology offers a sense of key events and impact of social ecology over our nearly 45-year history.

The 1970s


First Summer Conference on Social Ecology at Goddard College. Organized by Dan Chodorkoff and Murray Bookchin with speakers including John Todd, Wilson Clark, and Karl Hess.

Social Ecology Summer Program held at Goddard College’s Cate Farm. The ISE’s center at Cate Farm was the nation’s very first educational program developed to demonstrate and experiment with Alternative Technology (solar and wind) and biological food production (organic agriculture integrated with aquaculture in solar greenhouses).

ISE works with the Ramapo Mountain People in New Jersey, descendants of Iroquois and Algonquian people.

12-Week ISE Summer Program attracts 180 students.

Urban Alternatives Conference is held at Greenwich House, a community center in the Village. Many participants come from New York City’s Lower East Side and the burgeoning the Sweat Equity Urban Homesteading Movement.

Toward(s) Tomorrow Fair: At the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Murray Bookchin serves as a keynote speaker.

Spruce Mountain Affinity Group forms in Central Vermont as part of the Clamshell Alliance, a non-violent civil disobedience network dedicated to stopping the advance of nuclear power in the U.S.

Goddard College starts an MA program in Social Ecology. Ynestra King teaches first Ecofeminism class at the ISE summer program, coins the term ecofeminism for the English-speaking world.

ISE works with the Shad Alliance, an influential offshoot of the Clamshell Alliance working in New York and the Hudson Bay area.

Bea Bookchin introduces holistic health to ISE summer programs.

Akwesasne/Mohawk Nation struggle. State police blockades the Reservation. The ISE helps by running supplies on canoes through the blockade.

The 1980s


Overnight occupation of the NY State House in Albany in support of the Akwasane Mohawks.

Women and Life on Earth Conference, UMass, Amherst, organized by Ynestra King.

Women and Life on Earth/Women’s Pentagon Action sponsored by ISE.

ISE incorporates as an independent non-profit.
New England Anarchist Conference is held on the Goddard campus.  Resolutions approved that Bookchin brings on a fall European tour.

Urban Alternatives Conference attracts 4,000 people. Led by Puerto Rican activists and ISE-affiliates at CHARAS, a community-led squatted center run on the Lower East.

ISE members organize Eco-Feminist Conference, Plainfield Vermont.

ISE starts Harbinger Journal.

Murray Bookchin keynotes NOFA regional conference in Johnson, VT.

ISE is part of founding the Learning Alliance, an influential popular education project in NYC.

Green Committees of Correspondence founding meeting in Minneapolis. ISE serves as fiscal sponsor and one of the main organizers, first organized the Greens as a US national network.

First US National Greens Gathering at Hampshire College. Murray presents “Social ecology vs. deep ecology.” Left Green Network born.

Bea Bookchin runs for Burlington, VT City Council as a Green candidate.

First in a long series of Continental Conferences are held on social ecology in affiliation with various universities, including Concordia, McGill, Santa Monica College, University of Wisconsin, University of Tennessee.

Sandy Baird runs for Mayor of Burlington, VT as a Green.

The 1990s


Earth Day Wall Street Action, organized by the ISE and the Youth Greens with allies and endorsers across the region and nationally. First black bloc appears in the U.S., modeled after German autonomen.

3rd Youth Greens Conference issues social ecofeminist position.

Burlington Greens disband. Social ecologists largely withdraw from the Greens as their focus narrows toward national electoral politics and formation of state Green Parties.
Arts and Activism track added to ISE summer program.

“Social Perspectives on Women and Ecology” annual seminars held at Goddard, following the ISE summer program.

Summer conferences on eco-activism & environmental racism organized by the ISE

First Biodevastation activist conference on genetic engineering in St. Louis, organized with ISE support.


Battle of Seattle:  Height of the US anti-globalization/global justice movement.


Early 2000s


Biodevastation event organized by the ISE brings 3,000 people to march on the BIO (Biotechnology Industry Organization) convention in Boston. Three-day teach-in features Barry Commoner, Vandana Shiva, and other international guests. Kindred events will occur annually through 2007 in major cities throughout the US and Canada.

Harbinger Journal revived online. Final class of Goddard College BA/MA graduates in social ecology

VT Town Meetings vs. GMOs campaign, with allied efforts in western MA, NH and ME.

Arts, Media and Activism 10-Day Program.


ISE Biotechnology Project co-organizes large demonstration in response to a USDA-hosted event in Sacramento, focused on official US strategies for the World Trade Organization’s upcoming meetings.

ISE begins academic affiliation with Prescott College for an MA concentration in social ecology.

ISE leaves Maple Hill campus. First Summer Colloquium as final event.

Popular Power Seminar in NYC.

Murray Bookchin passes away. Memorial service fills Burlington City Hall.

Project of Democratic Autonomy inspired by social ecology begins in Bakur, Kurdistan.

2007- present
Annual ISE summer gatherings in Marshfield.



January Intensive in NYC includes a demonstration at a corporate carbon trading conference, organized by the ISE as part of the Climate SOS network.

Hammertown, NY summer Intensive. 8 day seminar.

Occupy Wall Street begins.

Two NYC Intensives on the theme of “Direct Democracy and Dual Power” draw many participants from Occupy Wall Street.

Northampton, MA Social Ecology Intensive. 8 Days.

Denton, Texas Winter Intensive. Students arrive from the Tar Sands Blockade and local anti-fracking groups.

ISE celebrates its 40th anniversary with a gathering in Marshfield, VT.

First ISE summer intensive at the Watershed Center, Millerton, NY.


First online educational program in social ecology offered, titled Ecology, Democracy and Utopia.

First west coast summer intensive is held in San Francisco at the California Institute of Integral Studies in partnership with their Department of Anthropology and Social Change.


Second west coast intensive, this time at the Ground Zero Center, a long-time hub for nonviolent antimilitarist actions near Bremerton, Washington.

Three day retreat and meeting with members of the Symbiosis network, developing plans for a radical municipalist convergence in North America.