The Social Ecology Education and Demonstration School (SEEDS) is “currently in the process of securing demonstration, education, and lodging space on 10 acres of ecologically diverse land with organic gardens and mixed forest at Vashon island (USA).”
“On pristine, remote Vashon Island it is often easy to feel removed from the enormity of the global ecological crisis. After all, the island has maintained efforts over the years to resist development pressures, especially through successfully resisting the construction of a bridge that would surely spell the end of its still largely rural character.”
Find out more here

Arts for change

“A provocative, personal look at the motivations and challenges of teaching socially engaged arts, Arts for Change overturns conventional arts pedagogy with an activist's passion for creating art that matters.
How can polarized groups work together to solve social and environmental problems? How can art be used to raise consciousness? Using candid examination of her own university teaching career as well as broader social and historical perspectives, Beverly Naidus answers these questions, guiding the reader through a progression of steps to help students observe the world around them and craft artistic responses to what they see. Interviews with over 30 arts education colleagues provide additional strategies for successfully engaging students in what, to them, is most meaningful.”
Read a review of the book here


The Right, referenda and the Oosterweel Link

The Oosterweel Link is a new and very expensive project for the city of Antwerp. Although only a small minority of the people in Antwerp seems to want the worst version of it, which would include a big traffic bridge (“the Lange Wapper”) for trucks and cars in the inner city of Antwerp, this month there will be a local referendum on the issue (in the largest city of Flanders). It are mainly members of the moderate part of the Right (Christian Democrats and others) who are trying to get this big bridge constructed. One of the big problems with the Lange Wapper is that it will cause many health problems, as a result of fine particle dust pollution.
The Far Right party Vlaams Belang (translation : Flemish Interest) has been fully gaining from this spectacle. The party even got involved in a campaign to collect 50.000 signatures in Antwerp city in order to stop the construction of the big traffic bridge by having a referendum about it. It was a bit strange and sad, because up until then it were people of the Left collecting a lot of these signatures. There were more than enough signatures collected for a referendum to take place at the end.
Unfortunately, many people with a foreign background will not be able to vote. This is one of the reasons why politicians of the Right like the idea of referenda sometimes, many people of the extreme part of the Right certainly like the idea of a referendum about the issue "Can non-European foreigners also vote during elections?" for example.
Just to give you an idea about the size of the issues here, the road that they are maybe planning to build (with a huge bridge included) would cost more than euros. If too many people would vote NO the 18th of October, the Flemish government will consider building another very expensive road (a less ugly and unhealthy one). There are three options that they see as alternatives for the Oosterweelverbinding (Oosterweel Link)...
According to the well-known Antwerp port alderman Marc Van Peel (a Christian Democrat), the city council of Antwerp should not even base its recommendation to the Flemish government on the results of the Antwerp referendum on the Oosterweel Link. "It is not because the referendum will result in a NO vote to the Lange Wapper bridge that we, as a municipality, should say no”, says 'democrat' Van Peel. He reasons that as a referendum is not legally binding, the municipality and Flemish government need not necessarily act in accordance with the results of a referendum! Yes, this is what Van Peel wants “representative democracy” to look like.
I've been involved in protests against the Oosterweel Link for many years now. This road connection has probably been the most important regional topic for activists of the ecological part of the Left here in Flanders to talk about. And with it hanging above our heads, ideas and discussions about local democracy are more and more a part of the public realm today.


Social Ecology in Turkey

"The root cause of the ecological, political, bureaucratic and social injustice and other social problems, which increasingly threatens our planet and is more visible every day, is domination of human over human and reflection of this domination to non-human nature. There is no partial or separate solution of these problems."
The Istanbul Social Ecology group has been active for more than 14 years now..

Some thoughts on religion and sex

The more hierarchical religious institutions get, the more they tend to control the sex lifes of their adherents. It can be about restrictions or it can be about stimulating sex and having it with several partners. If you control the sex life, you control much of the mind.

Ecology, economy and tourism

The concept of supernatural spirituality is never emancipatory, I like natural spirituality and societies that deliver the ecology of freedom. But when will these societies be realized? If it ever happens, I do not think I will ever see them.
Tourism provides one of the biggest economic sectors in the world. A country like Cuba for example has become very much dependent of tourism, the trade boycott of the US has played an important role in that.
Switzerland, Austria and Germany have 'the most attractive environments for developing the travel and tourism industry', according to the third annual Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report, published by the World Economic Forum this year. Among the top ten, France (4), Canada (5), Sweden (7) and the United States (8th place) post 'improvements'.

Interview with Brian Tokar about social ecology and tourism..

The new portal site of social ecology in French

Thanks to Vincent Gerber for this wonderful website. Great job, Vincent.