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Portland State Social Sustainability Colloquium: No Small Steps
Friday, April 8, 2011 - 2:00pm to Friday, April 8, 2011 - 4:00pm

WHAT: PSU Social Sustainability Colloquium: No Small Steps
WHEN: Friday, April 8th 2:00-4:00pm
WHERE: Urban Center Building Room 204
(SW 6th above Seattle's Best, enter from the door nearest the clock tower in the Urban Plaza )

This Friday, April 8, you are invited to a panel discussion featuring three exceptionally distinguished thinkers about these issues:

1. Jack Hart, retired Managing Editor of the Oregonian, who has written on "The Fallacy of Growth in a Finite World ," which contrasts our present economy, based on the assumption that it must grow or go into depression, with the realization that the earth's resources are limited -- and asks what can be done when we reach those limits?
2. Robert Costanza, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at PSU, who has written that the earth no longer has frontiers. Now that it is a full world - full of humans, he has asked, what kinds of values and economic indicators can guide us in fashioning a new society that can survive the environmental limits that are closing in on our present ways and our present assumptions -- based on the European industrial models and their expansions into other continents.
3. Larry Merculieff, Seven Generations Consulting, a member of the Aleut Tribe in Alaska, who has given deep thought from a long-term perspective to the powers of asking the right questions , listening deeply, seeking languages for reply, and being present in ways that most of us don't yet experience. He speaks from the perspective of people who were engulfed by the expansion of the European industrial societies yet still hold memories of another way of being -- fully present, unincorporated, sensitive to information not normally apprehended by the industrial peoples.

Our human society is a complex mix of huge worldwide institutions, mass media, neighborhoods, families, and other organizations -- supported by finite sources of energy. Over the last 1,000 years that pattern grew in Europe into and out over a natural landscape across all the continents on the assumption that all resources were there for the taking. Now some among us are waking to the truth: once the energy stops, the metabolism stops.

At this point we have to consider how much our institutions can still take from the earth and how much to leave. Whether we like it or not, we will have to forge a more modest vision of who we are in the landscape. And whether we like it or not, since the growth of all living systems is contingent on previous decisions, we must forge it on what we now have in place. No civilization has ever done that. We have the opportunity and the responsibility. This is the beginning of the conversation in our community -- and community may be the scale of the emergent new society we forge. We have much to learn -- and much to invent.

This discussion will be recorded on video and broadcast to our colleagues in Australia. It will also be available on YouTube and Earthsayers TV for dissemination. Go to www.media.pdx.edu Live Streams and then 204

Edgeworks is an emerging/emergent organization composed of Jim Newcomer, LeRoy Patton, Aimee SamaraKrouskop, Katherine Jesch, and Milt Markowitz