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JOHN D LIU – Panel Presentations Part 2

Welcome back to the second part of the program. I am shifting my role to be a moderator and we have a panel.

Mark Swilling: Thank you, John, for the multiple stories of the movement for regeneration. I’m a professor at Stellenbosch University and head up the center for complex systems and transition, which Stellenbosch defines as it’s flagship research initiative. We do a wide range of research across energy, urban landscape and food systems. Our total research budget is about 100 million rands. And I was co-founder with Eve Aneka of the Sustainability Institute which is across the road which animated the development of the land of Eco Village, which was South Africa’s first Intentional socially mixed ecologically designed community, and we ran Masters and Diploma programs there, which is really about educating a new generation of sustainability warriors, who walk the talk, who work in the gardens in the mornings. As I often say to my students, many of whom are here, that I judge how much they know about sustainability is by how much dirt is under their fingernails. We combine experiential learning experiential living that connects the soul, with the soil, with the way and with the society we would like to see happen in the world. Where my own work really relates to what is being discussed here thins evening, is that increasingly in our various modules and in the kind of work that I do and in a book I’ve just finished writing called The Age of Sustainability, increasingly I think our point of departure is that we are probably beyond the point of saving human civilization as we know it. That the degree of collapse of systems all around us at many different scales is well advanced and what is reported is not always what the scientists know. The scientific community knows how far gone things are. That doesn’t mean we give up hope. Hope is not neccesarily based on avoiding collapse. Hope is about regenerating the systems that become that will become the alternative foundation of the kind of human civilization that is going to emerge.

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