2024 Summer Intensive Course




People Get Ready: Climate Crisis to Social Revolution

From July 5 to July 11, the Institute for Social Ecology is hosting its annual summer intensive course at the Lookout Arts Quarry just south of Bellingham, WA. Participants will spend a week together studying and learning the core ideas of social ecology and practices for building transformative community movements for climate justice, resilience, and radical democracy.

We find ourselves in desperately troubled times: not only because of the horrors unfolding in the present but also—perhaps especially—from those that loom over the horizon ahead, just beyond our sight. While halting the fossil economy remains an existential necessity, it is now inevitable that climate change will produce global and regional shocks to our food systems; it will force millions of people to migrate; it will cause localized disaster events that overwhelm governments. The climate crisis is the terrain of all future social struggle.

Historically, social revolutions have been the product of an interplay between systemic crisis that opens political space for the previously impossible, and the advance work of radical movements assembling in embryo the institutions of self-determination that can seize upon such moments. Despite the mess of uncertainties in our own time surrounding election outcomes, social upheavals, and economic crises, one thing we can be certain of is that the next several decades will be littered with moments of crisis. Our task as revolutionaries, and the central theme of this program, is to organize such that we are prepared for them: not just to weather them, but to seize upon them and transform society through them. Statists around the world are themselves engaged in such climate preparations, but rather than systems of mutual aid and collective decision-making, theirs are deadly border fortifications, prison camps, and militarized security forces. The future is up for grabs, and although the struggle ahead is measured in decades, it is of the utmost urgency.

In this summer intensive course, we will use this lens to explore food sovereignty, women’s movements, mutual aid disaster relief, struggles by Northwest indigenous nations in defense of their sovereignty, and the organizing work behind the Rojava Revolution, among other issues. We will dig into the nuts and bolts of direct democracy and direct action, tour local land projects, and build close relationships with one another as a foundation for future collaborations across cities and regions. Throughout this week of collective study and collective discussion, we will be asking ourselves and one another: How do we build a new society while the world is burning?

The program will begin midday on July 5 and conclude the afternoon of July 11. Participants must register in advance, so we can plan meals appropriately and provide our venue with accurate head counts. If your travel plans change and the dates you will actually be in attendance are not reflected by what you specified in your registration, that is perfectly fine—please just let us know in advance. Registration payments are based on a sliding scale: please pay what you can! We estimate a cost of $275/participant to put on this event. Anything you can contribute beyond that will help us cover for those who need a discounted registration. 

All participants will be allowed to camp on-site at Lookout Arts Quarry, which is our primary housing option. We will also be assembling a set of solidarity housing options in town for those who are unable to camp, but these will be necessarily limited. You are also more than welcome to arrange your own housing. Anyone staying somewhere other than Lookout Arts Quarry will be responsible for their own transportation to and from the venue. This program will take place outdoors in a rustic setting without paved pathways, and is not fully accessible for non-motorized wheelchairs. While no part of the program is mandatory for all attendees, a significant portion will be hands-on direct action training entailing physical activity. We will have bathrooms and limited showers available. All meals will be provided. There is an incredible swimming hole in the old quarry, so bring swimwear!

We are thrilled to have you join us. Reach out to with any questions.