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Contemplative Environmental Studies: Pedagogy For Self and Planet

United States of America
San Cristobal
Event start: 20130728
End date: 20130803

Event description

The challenge of Earth System Governance is not simply political, economic, or technological, but also involves deepening our understanding of who we are as a species and our identities as researchers, teachers, and engaged citizens. In this context, the Earth System Governance Project is excited to announce its endorsement of the summer workshop, “Contemplative Environmental Studies: Pedagogy for Self and Planet,” to be held 28 July – 3 August 2013 at the Lama Foundation in San Cristobol, New Mexico, USA. The workshop provides a venue for academics to explore how self-awareness, mindfulness practices, and simply a focus on our inner lives can contribute to teaching, research, and engagement with global environmental affairs. Details are below.

The endorsement by the Earth System Governance Project is part of a broader effort to understand the ethical dimensions of global environmental protection. The 2001 Amsterdam Declaration specifically called for a new ethics to cope with earth system transformation. Thus, themes from the Lama Foundation workshop will also be explored at next summer’s Norwich Conference on Earth System Governance “Allocation and Access in the Anthropocene”, 1-3 July 2014, Norwich, UK.

Workshop overview:

  • How can higher education best address global environmental challenges? 
  • How can we most meaningfully teach and research about environmental issues? 
  • How can we cultivate our inner lives through active engagement with environmental challenges?

This workshop explores the contribution of contemplative practices to scholarly inquiry and teaching in environmental studies. Through discussions with distinguished scholars, focused conversations among colleagues, artistic exercises, and regular contemplative practice (e.g. meditation, journaling, and nature walks), participants will investigate ways to deepen their teaching, research, and lives at this historic moment of environmental intensification.

Part workshop and part retreat, this 6-day summer institute provides an opportunity to step back from the frenetic pace of our lives, and cultivate our inner resources and nurture the resiliency we need as teachers committed to education on a fragile and wild planet. The workshop is open to professors and graduate students.

The Summer Institute is co-sponsored by the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society and is supported by the Global Environmental Politics (GEP) Program in the School of International Service at American University, Washington DC.


The Institute will take place at the Lama Foundation in the mountains of northern New Mexico. Lama is a beautiful, off-grid community committed to sustainable and mindful living. It sits on 100 acres surrounded by National Forest land and draws its power from the sun, water from a spring, and much of its food in the summer directly from the garden. At 8500 feet, it provides an ideal setting for reflection and engagement with contemplative environmental issues.


  • Daniel Barbezat, Professor of Economics, Amherst College, and Director of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society.
  • Matthew Jelacic, Assistant Professor of Environmental Design, University of Colorado Boulder.
  • Nicole Salimbene, visual artist whose work explores themes of sustainability, political voice, and devotion, and leader of workshops that use art to deepen political and vocational engagement.
  • Paul Wapner, Professor of Global Environmental Politics in the School of International Service at American University and author of Living Through the End of Nature and Environmental Activism and World Civic Politics.
  • Jeff Warren, meditation instructor, journalist, and author of The Head Trip: Adventures on the Wheel of Consciousness.


$950 (includes all meals, workshop fee, and workshop materials)


Visit the CES website or email Paul Wapner at pwapner [at]

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