Visions of a Better World

Ron Miller

Many of us feel that we are living in bleak times. Political, economic and social systems seem to be breaking down, both nationally and globally. Climate change is causing increasingly massive disruption, and perhaps most perplexing, common understandings of truth and reality seem to be dissolving. Participants in Ron’s class “Civilization at a Crossroads” last fall explored the underlying causes of these crises, and many asked what we can do to respond constructively. This course provides some tangible answers, whether or not you took the previous course.

Millions of people across the U.S. and around the world are stirred by visions of a better world, and they are developing new approaches in many arenas. They are daring to rethink and reinvent institutions on local, regional, national and international scales. While reflecting diverse influences and points of view, they share an emerging realization that modern civilization has entered a phase of historic transformation: it is our very worldview that is shifting.

This class will offer an overview of these diverse new visions. We will consider emerging movements and concepts such as the “new economy,”  agroecology, permaculture, transition towns, food sovereignty, relocalization, reclaiming the commons, Slow Food and Slow Money, and many others. Most of these hopeful and promising movements are rarely recognized in the mainstream press, so they remain largely unfamiliar. In this class we’ll become acquainted with the concepts, leading thinkers, and origins of these evolutionary trends.

Tuesdays,  April 17 – May 1.  2:00 – 4:00.  At Nan Bourne’s home on River St.

Ron Miller has taught at Goddard and Champlain colleges, published two journals on educational alternatives, founded an independent school near Burlington, and written or edited several books, including Free Schools, Free People (a study of radical education alternatives in the 1960s) and Most Likely to Secede (a collection of essays exploring local autonomy and resilience in Vermont). He received a Ph.D. in American Studies from Boston University and has always loved exploring unconventional ideas. He is the coordinator of the Learning Lab.