Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Enrollment is now open for two linked courses offered by Alder Fuller’s Euglena Academy designed to help our community understand the true nature of climate change. One – Climate & Gaia – focuses on the systems sciences, especially Earth systems sciences (geophysiology) necessary to understand climate and climate change. The other – With Speed & Violence – focuses on what is currently happening to Earth's ecosystems, and the astonishing and very sobering story of how rapid and extreme climate change has occurred in the past. These two courses form the core of Euglena’s Climate Adaptation Program (ECAP). Architects may find one or both courses useful as a foundation for developing design strategies to increase the built environment’s adaptive capacity in the face of rapid climate change.

ECAP will:
  • Address the severity of our climate crisis from a systems sciences perspective
  • Simultaneously address development of a realistic, workable program that our communities can use to not only mitigate, but prepare for adaptation to climate change

  • Make clear both the necessity and the value of a systems view of life & Earth, especially geophysiology; i.e., humans need to become familiar with the concept of Gaia – a self-regulating planetary system that operates similar to their own physiology.

ECAP will employ components already offered at Euglena Academy – lectures, workshops, and courses (including the two reading seminars discussed here) – but can also be customized to meet specific needs for specific groups, such as:

  • Architects & builders
  • Climate activist organizations
  • Food & agriculture organizations
  • Health care professionals & organizations
  • Alternative energy & energy conservation groups
  • Educators, including high school, college & university
  • Alternative transportation, esp bicycles & mass transit
  • Land agencies: BLM, USFS, Corp of Engineers
  • Policy makers: governors, representatives, mayors, city councils, county commissioners

The two courses beginning this month have been designed to explicitly explain why projections based on Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports and models significantly underestimate the true nature of climate change with regard to scale, speed and severity. The fact is that we are very likely already past the "tipping point" for large-scale changes, and thus physically unable to stop large-scale climate change with any mitigation effort. We may slow it, and should try, but we probably won't stop it. Groups attempting to address climate change without understanding this are missing crucial information, and their efforts will be far less effective as a result. In addition to mitigation efforts to slow it, we must begin active preparations for adaptation.

With Speed & Violence is a reading seminar based on journalist Fred Pearce's book of that title. (Subtitle: Why Scientists Fear Tipping Points in Climate Change). It includes information making it clear that the majority of climate researchers acknowledge that the IPCC is underestimating the crisis, and that they are frightened by what they are learning. This course will help individuals and groups working on climate change understand the nature of what we face with much greater clarity.

Climate & Gaia is a reading and lecture seminar based on the first four chapters of James Lovelock's book "The Revenge of Gaia". Lovelock firmly grounds his diagnosis of Earth's climate crisis in published systems sciences, especially geophysiology, the science that he founded 30 years ago with Lynn Margulis. Climate change can fundamentally not be fully understood from outside the perspective of geophysiology. Alder Fuller understands that many do not condone some of Lovelock's solutions, and neither does he. However, Dr. Fuller asserts that to ignore James Lovelock’s science & assessment of the climate crisis is a recipe for planetary catastrophe. That is why Euglena focuses predominantly on the first four chapters of Lovelock’s book dealing with the science instead of the last six chapters dealing with his proposed solutions.

The ECAP core courses can be done in either order, separately or together. Both are 8-week programs, each meeting once a week on Wednesday or Thursday evenings beginning this month. Enrollment ends January 22, 2009. For more information, contact Euglena by e-mail at or phone at (541-762-1217).


sarah said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


M. D. Vaden of Oregon said...

Climate change could be an opportunity for professionals, or their biggest obstacle.

Consider that climate and our planet have changed a lot over the centuries. Even the continents have moved.

If climate is changing no matter what impact mankind has on the planet, can you imagine how badly people will pull their hair out as they try to preserve the current ecosystems?

Adapting to climate change and recognizing must be very important.



Born in Vancouver B.C. - raised in Oregon

Bill Klaverkamp said...

I'm taking the course, "With Speed and Violence," and find it very rich, compelling, and to the point. If you live close to Eugene Oregon, and you'd like to know more about climate change, how it works, and how it will affect you, I'd advise you to take one of Alder Fuller's classes.
--Bill Klaverkamp, Pres. SW Oregon Chapter, NW EcoBuilding Guild