a Sustainable Future:
Ecology, Ethics and Design

Institute of Reverential Ecology Third Annual Retreat

April 29 - May 1, 2005 -- Zaca Lake Retreat Center

Registration: (tel) 805.565-2321; (fax) 805.969.2312

click here for 2005 Welcome Packet PDF

Conference Vision

At a time when national and international politics offer little hope, people around the world are using ecology as a new paradigm to transform their habitats into communities of promise and possibility. Encompassing every facet of life, from the psychological to the social and environmental, popular understanding of the deeper meaning of interdependence has grown into a worldwide grassroots movement of enormous implications for the future. Please join us in helping make this new paradigm come alive with a week-end of talks, discussions, walks and recreation at beautiful Zaca Lake.


    Patricia Bulitt, Dancer/Interdisciplinary Artist and Dance Ethnographer

    Ianto Evans, Applied Ecologist, Landscape Architect, Inventor, and Teacher

    Nandini Iyer, Lecturer Emeritus, UC Santa Barbara,
    Co-Founder of the Institute of World Culture, Santa Barbara

    John Knott, Architect, Designer, Philosopher

    Satish Kumar, Editor, Resurgence Magazine

    Francis Moore Lappé, Author and Visionary, Small Planet Institute
    Listen online to her 2005 presentation

    Art Ludwig, Author and Designer of Sustainable Water Systems

    Ocean Robbins, Environmental Youth Leader

    Bill Roley, Applied Ecologist, Environmental Instructor and Design Consultant

    Elisabet Sahtouris, Living Systems Design Theorist, Author

    Vandana Shiva, Author, Activist,
    Founder of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology
    Listen online to her 2005 presentation

    Charlene Spretnak, Professor at California Institute of Integral Studies,
    Author of
    Missing Mary

    Michael Tobias, Author, Filmmaker and Anthropologist

    Mary Evelyn Tucker, Professor of Religion at Bucknell University, Author

    Adam Wolpert, Founder of Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, Artist, Activist

click here for more information


Student scholarships available.  Address inquiries to:
Philip Grant, Executive Coordinator, IRE:

For directions to Zaca Lake Retreat Center
www.zacalakeretreat.comor call 805.688.5569.

For more information contact Philip Grant, Executive Coordinator, IRE;
(tel) 805.201-2810  (e-mail)


c r e a t i n g   t h e   f u t u r e

e c o l o g y,  e t h i c s  a n d  d e s i g n

conference presenters


Patricia Bulitt, Dancer/Interdisciplinary Artist and Dance Ethnographer is the first non native dancer many Alaskan Eskimo and Indian villagers had ever seen when she was invited to tour Alaska in 1977 by the Alaska State Council on the Arts.  Patricia continued to tour as a visiting dancer and documenter of dance from 1977-2001, working very closely with the Traditional Council of Hooper Bay village for the exhibition she developed called, "Their Eyes Have Seen The Old Dances:  Honoring Elder Dancers and Drummers,"  1981-2001. Reciepent of numerous grants and awards including a National Endowment for the Arts Choreography Fellowship, grantee of Alaskan Humanities Forum, California Arts Council, and Fellowship from UCLA Dance Department, her solo dances have been presented throughout US, Japan, Canada.  The city of Berkeley awarded Ms Bulitt an Outstanding Woman Artist in the Community Award in 2003.

Ianto Evans, is an applied ecologist, landscape architect, inventor, and teacher with building experience on six continents. He has consulted with US AID, the World Bank, The Peace Corps, and other national governments. Ianto Evans receives his inspiration from extensive work with traditional cultures and from the observation of nature. Ianto is a landscape architect, applied ecologist, inventor, writer and teacher with building experience on six continents. Ianto encourages and empowers people to take charge of creating their own housing by using healthy, resource-efficient and regionally appropriate building materials and systems.

Nandini Iyer is a life-long student of the world’s mystical traditions and of the teachings of MK Gandhi. She has taught philosophy and religious studies at the University of Oxford, UC Santa Barbara and at Santa Barbara City College. She is one of the founders of the Institute of World Culture in Santa Barbara and has been involved with several schools committed to combating religious intolerance.
     “We need to explore whether and how not only ethics, but spiritual and broadly religious ideals, can be meaningfully taught and practiced, without being grounded in narrow, sectarian religious frameworks. Can we allow the state, as we have sometimes allowed religion, to take priority over individual conscience? Can we educate students into being ethical? These are problems, challenges and dilemmas upon which we need to reflect.”.


John Knott is President and co-founder of the Noisette Company, LLC, and leads the Noisette Project development team, which is collaborating in a public-private partnershipwith the City of North Charleston to restore 3,000 acres of the city’s historic urban core. Knott has 36 years of experience in the urban redevelopment, historic preservation and community rehabilitation fields. Mr. Knott is a third generation builder and developer, with extensive experience in the holistic development of planned communities, sustainable development, Green Buildings, commercial offices, hotels, and renovation and restoration of historic properties and urban revitalization. He also specializes in ecologically sound and efficient energy design, and ranks among the nation’s leading advocates of development that preserves, protects and enhances the natural environment.
     Recently, John served as CEO and Managing Director of the 1,206-acre Dewees Island, community near Charleston, South Carolina, an oceanfront island retreat dedicated to environmental preservation and recognized as one of the leading eco-friendly residential developments in the world. In 2001, Dewees won the Urban Land Institute’s prestigious Award for Excellence. Recently, Knott served as an advisor for the University of Texas-Houston Health Sciences Center, helping guide the sustainable redevelopment of a three-million-plus square foot campus at that school. In 2004, Knott was named “Environmental Champion for 2004” by Interiors & Sources magazine, joining such high profile names as Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, scientist E.O. Wilson, and Interface, Inc. CEO Ray Anderson.

Satish Kumar is the editor of Resurgence, an influential British magazine devoted to promoting a synthesis of ecological, artistic and spiritual values. Satish became a wandering Jain monk at the age of nine, later joined Vinoba Bhave’s Bhoodan movement and walked from India to Russia, and throughout Europe, and parts of the Americas, to urge the abolition of nuclear weapons. Satish is the Program Director of Schumacher College. His latest book You Are Therefore I Am: A Declaration of Dependence is published by Green Books in the U.K. His autobiography Path Without Destination is published by William Morrow.

“Sometimes I come across a tree which seems like Buddha or Jesus: loving, compassionate, still, unambitious, enlightened, in eternal meditation, giving pleasure to a pilgrim, shade to a cow, berries to a bird, beauty to its surroundings, health to its neighbors, branches for the fire, leaves for the soil, asking nothing in return, in total harmony with the wind and the rain. How much can I learn from a tree? The tree is my church, the tree is my temple, the tree is my mantra, the tree is my poem and my prayer.”


Frances Moore Lappé is author or co-author of fourteen books, including the three-million-copy bestseller Diet for a Small Planet. The co-founder of two national organizations that focus on food and the roots of democracy, in 1987 she became the fourth American to receive the Right Livelihood Award. Her most recent book is You Have the Power: Choosing Courage in a Culture of Fear (Tarcher/Penguin, 2004). Frances Moore Lappé’s books have been used in a broad array of courses in hundreds of colleges and universities and in more than 50 countries. They have been translated into over a dozen languages.
     In 1987 in Sweden, Lappé became the fourth American to receive the Right Livelihood Award, sometimes called the “Alternative Nobel,” for her “vision and work healing our planet and uplifting humanity.” In her 30s, Lappé received the annual Mademoiselle magazine award, honoring young American women leaders. In 2000, she was inducted into Natural Health Magazine's Hall of Fame. In 2003 she received the Rachel Carson Award from the National Nutritional Foods Association. Lappé’s book awards include the World Hunger Media Award and the Henry George Award as well as, in 2003, the Nautilus Award for Hope’s Edgein the category of social change from NAPRA, the network of alternative publishers and retailers. She was also chosen in 2003 by artist Robert Shetterly as one of 50 Americans to be part of his traveling portrait exhibition, Americans Who Tell the Truth.

Art Ludwig has studied and worked in 22 different countries. He designed custom transport bicycles for people without cars for ten years, and has consulted and written about the design of water and wastewater systems for the past 14 years. He developed the first cleaning products which biodegrade into plant food, has written three books on greywater systems, developed several new system designs, and consulted with New York and New Mexico on their greywater laws. He's recently completed a book on all aspects of water storage. He has worked on the design and implementation of sustainable living systems for an indigenous village in Mexico for the past eight years, including sustainable water supply from reforested watershed to greywater irrigated home orchards, composting toilets, and ecotourism. His web site includes 300 pages of information on living better with less use of resources.


At 16, Ocean Robbins was founder of Youth for Environmental Sanity (YES!), which he has directed for the better part of the years since. He is also co-author of Choices For Our Future: A Generation Rising For Life On Earth (published by the Book Publishing Company, September, 1994), and speaks widely, spreading a message of hope and inspiration to conferences, companies and organizations. Utne Reader recognized him as one of 30 "Young Visionaries" under 30, and both both Time and Audubon magazines chose him as being among the heroes of the new millennium.


Dr. Bill Roley, is an applied ecologist, environmental instructor and consultant. He designs strategies to improve sustainable resources for homes, organizations, governments and business. He combines the disciplines of anthropology, biology, architecture, engineering, agriculture, and ecology to address modern challenges of providing for human needs while maintaining ecosystem health. He has consulted and presented internationally on how to incorporate these multifaceted concepts into working sustainable systems. His courses at Universities and Colleges link the social and environmental sciences into an integrated pattern. His teaching and design work at the John Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies at California Polytechnic University is a graphic example of this interdisciplinary work. He heads up the Ecological Restoration certificate program at Saddleback College and teaches biology at Soka University.  

Dr. Elisabet Sahtouris is an evolution biologist, futurist, author, and consultant to organizations. In her unique approach, called "Living Systems Design," she applies the principles of biology and evolution to organizational development so that organizations may become more functional, healthy "living systems," with increased resilience, stability, and cooperation. She is one of a select group of scientists rethinking the classic, mechanistic view of the universe. Her particular goal is to create sustainable health and well-being for humanity within the larger living systems of Earth.
     Her books include EarthDance: Living Systems in Evolution (iUniverse, 2000), A Walk Through Time: From Stardust to Us (John Wiley & Sons, 1998), and Biology Revisioned, co-authored with Willis Harman (North Atlantic Books, 1998). She has been invited to China by the Chinese National Science Association, organized Earth Celebration 2000 in Athens, Greece, and has been a United Nations consultant on indigenous peoples. She was a participant in the Humanity 3000 dialogues of the Foundation for the Future and in the Synthesis Dialogues with the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala. She consults with corporations and government organizations in Australia, Brazil, and the USA. 


Vandana Shivais a world-renowned environmental thinker and activist, leader in the International Forum on Globalization, recipient of The Right Livelihood Award, and author of many books. The Progressive describes her as “a burst of creative energy, an intellectual power.”

"Sixteen years ago I founded the Research Foundation [for Science, Technology and Ecology] as a small independent initiative to do research in a participatory mode with people, not on them - and to do research with an interdisciplinary approach, - reflecting the interconnections in the web of life, not teaching them apart with reductionist violence. These 16 years of participatory action oriented ecological research have bought deep fulfillment - and triggered some changes in paradigms."

"Diversity is fast moving into the defining metaphor in place of monocultures of the mind. Ecofeminism has emerged as a serious challenge to Cartesian reductionism and the Baconian "rape of nature" as the "masculine mode" of knowing. Globalisation is however threatening to the ecological gains of the past few decades. It is therefore the defining context of our new engagements."  

Charlene Spretnak received an M.A. (1981) in English from the University of California, Berkeley. Her most recent book is Missing Mary: The Queen of Heaven and Her Re-Emergence in the Modern Church.  Her many books include The Resurgence of the Real: Body, Nature, and Place in a Postmodern World (1997), States of Grace: The Recovery of Meaning in the Postmodern Age (1991), The Spiritual Dimension of Green Politics (1986), and editor of The Politics of Women's Spirituality (1982). Her pioneering work has contributed to the framing of the women's spirituality, ecofeminist, and Green politics movements. Charlene lectures widely in the United States and Europe.  

Michael Tobias is an author whose works have appeared in some eighty countries. He is particularly focused upon issues pertaining to animal rights and biodiversity conservation. Among his current projects are several new books, both fiction and nonfiction, as well as two feature documentaries, “Mad Cowboy” that treats of the tragedies of industrial agriculture, and “No Vacancy,” a sequel to his 1994 book and film, World War III: Population and the Biosphere at the End of the Millennium.


Mary Evelyn Tucker is a professor of religion at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, where she teaches courses in world religions, Asian religions, religion and ecology, and religion and nature writers. She received her Ph.D. from Columbia University in the history of religions, specializing in Confucianism in Japan.  She has published Moral and Spiritual Cultivation in Japanese Neo-Confucianism (SUNY, 1989). She co-edited Worldviews and Ecology (Orbis, 1994), Buddhism and Ecology (Harvard, 1997), Confucianism and Ecology (Harvard, 1998), and Hinduism and Ecology (Harvard, 2000). She also wrote Worldly Wonder: Religions Enter Their Ecological Phase (Open Court Press, 2003) She is currently co-editing with Tu Weiming two volumes on Confucian Spirituality which will be published by Crossroad in the series on World Spirituality. She and her husband, John Grim, have directed a series of ten conferences on World Religions and Ecology at the Harvard University Center for the Study 


Adam Wolpert is a painter, teacher, co-founder of The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, and director of the OAEC Arts Program. He has taught classical painting techniques both in Los Angeles and San Diego. His work is currently represented by the Jan Baum Gallery in Los Angeles and can be viewed at

“Changing a vision into reality is the most profound and gratifying process we can engage in. It is the creative process, the process of self-realization, and an inspiration to others. As preconceptions are broken down, you awake as if from a dream to see the boundless potential of life. Suddenly the structures that imprison us can be seen for what they are: simply the manifestations of other peoples’ ideas, no more powerful or important than our own.”

Creating a Sustainable Future
program schedule


12:00 - 1:00 PM Lunch

1:30 - 3:30 Opening Plenary:

“Sustaining Hope: Perspectives on the Future”
Panelists: Frances Moore Lappe, Charlene Spretnak and Ocean Robbins  

3:30 - 6:00 Free time / nature walks / swimming and more

6:00 - 7:00 Dinner

7:30 - 9:30 General Plenary:

“Greening Sacred Space and Sacred Time: Cosmology, Ecology and Spirituality”
Panelists: Mary Evelyn Tucker, Satish Kumar, Nandini Iyer


8:00 - 9:00 AM Breakfast

9:30 - 11:30 Workshops:

Please choose one of the following:
Satish Kumar, Mary Evelyn Tucker, Charlene Spretnak,Vandana Shiva

12:00 - 1:00 Lunch.

1:30 - 3:30 Workshops:

Please choose one of the following:
John Knott, Michael Tobias, Elisabet Sahtouris  

3:30 - 6:00 Free time / nature walks / swimming and more

6:00 - 7:00 Dinner.

7:30 - 9:30 General Plenary:

“Greening Utopia: Living Systems, Social Ethics and Natural Design.”
Panelists: John Knott, Ianto Evans, Adam Wolpert


8:00 - 8:45  Breakfast

9:00 -10:30  Workshops:

Please choose one of the following:
France Moore Lappe, Ocean Robbins, Ianto Evans, Adam Wolpert

11:00 - 1:00  Closing Plenary:

“Ethics and Science in the Age of Ecology”
Panelists: Vandana Shiva, Elisabet Sahtouris, Michael Tobias

1:15 - 1:45  Lunch

2:00 - 4:00  Student Workshops