Our Work: Past and Present
This is a community-led initiative. Together, we organize conferences and courses and projects, like: Respecting the Land: Living in the Gifts and Limits of Nature held in November 2013 in Alberta, or the Caring for All Creation Series held in British Columbia last winter, or the Spirit of the Land: Building a Community Land Ethic conference, or the ongoing Alberta Voices project.
This fall 2015, join us for Making Peace with the Land, a course and conference that will explore the question of what it means to be a good local and global neighbour today.
We are from diverse places – mainly across Treaty 6, 8, 11 and Unceded Coast Salish Territories – yet, just as we do through this website and Blog, we share this work together.
Spirit of the Land started with a group of students and teachers from the Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta, with support from the Ronning Centre. We were inspired to bring community and spirit to discussions around ecology.
Our work began with creating awareness about hydraulic fracturing in Alberta. In November 2012, we hosted Responsibility for the Land: Conversations on Fracking in Alberta. From these conversations, the ongoing Alberta Voices project was launched.
In 2013, we deepened our scope to include the spiritual dimensions of our ecological challenges. Inspired by the positive spirit of Idle No More, we connected with First Nations leaders, farmers, scholars and ecologists to host both a course and conference. Events were at the U of A’s Augustana Campus in Camrose.
In 2014, we continued the conversation with partners in Vancouver and Victoria and those connected via Web broadcast in many locations during the Caring for All Creation series. Meeting over shared meals,all were welcome to explore the fundamental ways we need each other to both shift and create the world we would like to live in. Caring for creation worked in solidarity with: The Chester Ronning Centre for the Study of Religion & Public Life, Idle No More, KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, Village Vancouver Transition Society, Spirited Social Change, Vancouver School of Theology of UBC, The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, The BC Synod of the ELCIC, The Faith & Society Committee, The Eco-Justice Unit of the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster, the Surrey Urban Mission Society.
More and more people become a part of this network. And so in November 2014, we hosted our third annual conference Respecting the Land: Living Within the Gifts and Limits of Nature which focused on practical and local examples of how we respect the land by living within the limits and gifts of the natural and human systems. The central feature of all our conferences is the inclusive and honest spirit in which the conference is hosted. So too was Respecting the Land. While practical, external transitions are necessary; this won’t happen unless there is also an inner, spiritual change in our understanding of what the real wealth of life is. As long as we believe that endless economic growth will lead to happiness, we will not search for ways to reconnect to people, communities, and the land. By placing the care of the natural world, our communities, our families, and our own inner peace at the center of our economic decisions, we will learn to live lightly on the land.
Meanwhile, we share about our works, our communities, our joys and our struggles, our insights and doubts with each other on the Blog.
This year, all are welcome to gather around the Making Peace with the Land series beginning this February – May 2015 which will examine what it means to be a good local and global neighbour today. The series is designed for small groups to work through the content as a group meeting once a week. The curriculum has been crafted so that each community group can contextualize the content to their particular lived experience. Yet, by sharing in this series together, week to week, we do so all together. Diverse and in common. The series is accessible to all beliefs, philosophies and traditions.
Check out our front page to participate in our most recent events. As this is a community-based initiative, everyone is always welcome! Your suggestions and input are appreciated. If you would like to contribute to the webpage as a guest blogger, please contact Leslie Lindballe.