Todd Boyle is working on a documentary film about the New Era Convergence. Visionary thinkers from throughout the Pacific Northwest convened at a retreat on Fall Creek Reservoir, and he captured their discussions on video.
[00:00:13] Todd Boyle: People came into the conference with different mentalities and a number of people there believe that we are in the midst of a collapse of civilization. Not only a collapse of the global biosphere, but a collapse of human civilization and so on. I don’t happen to be quite so apocalyptic, you know?
[00:00:31] But I do see — probably most of the people there just see— a lot of trends that are very disturbing and need to be worked on. Like, let’s say, the collapse of healthcare systems or the collapse of availability of cheap housing, the collapse of access to water, the fires, all the things that are going on.
[00:00:48] I videoed the whole thing from start to finish, and so you’ll see the progression of these different sessions. There is what you call a narrative arc in which the workshops are really along the same theme and purpose.
[00:01:02] So the first sessions focused on drawing people’s ideas out as to what they regard as important problems in the world in terms of the environment and social problems and things that they regard as part of a general pattern of collapse.
[00:01:17] So after the opening circle, the first session was, ‘What Will The Future Bring?’ And so the participants were encouraged to outline their problems that they see in the world.
[00:01:27] And then a couple hours later, we had the second session, ‘Imagining Paths to Change.’ Okay. And so then by the next day you start going into ‘Learning From Experience, Promises And Pitfalls’ and they’re experts and involved in different parts of the sustainability movement or permaculture. So then you go on through ‘Planning to Survive Hard Times,’ ‘Building Unity and Solidarity.’
[00:01:51] Then you get into the closing sessions, or I would say the climax sessions, ‘Exploring the Convergence of Visions’, ‘Taking Transformative Action’ and ‘Next Steps.’ So it gets quite concrete by the end.
[00:02:04] For me, the most important or impactful sessions were at the end. And I saw people who clearly had brilliant minds and who really had thought a lot about what they are doing and what needs to be fixed. And they are actually engaged in action in their lives, you know, doing the things that they believe in.
[00:02:21] I mean, one example who was in the workshop that I attended was Erik de Buhr and he’s the guy who invented the Conestoga huts, and he’s created thousands of these shelters and influenced thinking all over the country where they have copycat companies doing the same sort of design, which is a good thing. So he’s involved in alternative housing. He participated meaningfully in these discussions.
[00:02:41] Clare Strawn of course is one of my faves because she speaks clearly and says what she has on her mind and then stops. That’s really refreshing these days, you know?
[00:02:52] You know, it was refreshing, there was, it was located at SkyCamp, which is a large camp, I think it was designed for kids and it could easily have several hundred people at this camp at a time and it’s on the lake, Upper Fall Creek reservoir. And so I went down there at least three times every day and just jumped in that lake and swam around and it felt so good.
[00:03:11] The New Era Convergence was organized over the last six months or so, and it was preceded by a whole bunch of ‘porchfest conversations,’ of which the ones I attended were at Heather Sielicki’s house.
[00:03:22] The goal of this convergence was really to build bridges—or coalitions—among different people who are working in different aspects of a sustainable economy or a permaculture approach to our economic and social and spiritual activities. It’s a whole conceptual approach to life. And a lot of it was influenced by PROUT, which originated in the 1950s-60s in India.
Coming soon from Todd Boyle, ‘New Era Convergence: The Documentary.’ For the latest, keep listening to KEPW News.