Engaging Interconnectedness: Lessons from Sentient Beings and Ecosystems

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About this session

We are honored to present this panel of scholars whose presentations highlight the unique contributions of ecosystems, people, and other sentient beings to the dialogue of life on earth. In particular, their work teaches us how to listen well to the words and wisdom of others. This panel will be followed by an opportunity for panelists to respond to one another, as well as a Q & A with attendees.

“From Techno-Capitalist Domination to Eco-Social Partnership,” Asoka Bandarage

This presentation describes and compares the worldview of domination underlying the contemporary capitalist technological paradigm and the worldview of partnership that would underlie an alternative ecological paradigm. Drawing from both western academic disciplines and alternative philosophical approaches, especially Buddhism, I will explore the fundamental shift in consciousness, public policy and social action needed for ecological and social protection.

“Honoring Reciprocity: Collaborating with Indigenous Peoples on Traditional Ecological Knowledge,” Cristina Eisenberg

Dr. Eisenberg, who is of mixed Raramuri and Western Apache heritage, will share the basic tenets and ethical principles that enable effective, respectful intercultural collaboration with Indigenous peoples in Traditional Ecological Knowledge. Examples include harvesting medicinal plants, sharing stories, and learning about and participating in ceremonies. She will provide guidelines for best and most respectful ways of engaging with Indigenous peoples and learning from us.

“Blurring boundaries and disturbing dichotomies,” Denise Mitten

Many fields of study operate in dualities helping humans retain a western heteropatriarchy worldview. This construct of dualities, including culture/nature, body/mind, human/animal, human/technology, and human/posthuman, causes and strengthens hierarchical ways of thinking and behaving. Language can help decolonize Eurocentric approaches to understanding human life including the phenomenon of being human as a part of the natural world.

“Manuakepa – Reawaken Our Power to Connect,” Apela Colorado

Thirty years of research has unveiled a web of sacred sites that evince the mysteries of conception, birth, death, and rebirth, and reveal a lineage of Hawaiian and western women carrying the stories and caring for associated sacred sites. Manuakepa , Owl Woman and Chief of the White Springs (Woman’s) Temple, is a mythical, shapeshifting Owl who confronts invaders, frees village prisoners, and takes them into the underworld. The journey encoded in the Manuakepa sites prepares the villages to confront patriarchy and the spirit of death.

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