Conversations that Matter with Right Livelihood Laureates


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Bill McKibben & Vandana Shiva in Conversation

Social Transformation - Visions & Mobilizations

With Dean Katharyne Mitchell & Professor Chris Benner

Tuesday, November 17, 2020, 8:00-9:00 AM Pacific 

Timezone conversion: 11AM Eastern / 5PM CEST / 8:30PM India

Pre-registration required 

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“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” 

 - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Before the coronavirus pandemic, we already knew social transformation was necessary. Now we know it’s possible. Political and economic policies that were previously fringe are now front and center in national and international conversations. In the last months, we’ve witnessed people taking to the streets to protest authoritarian governments, racial injustice, unequal health care, and climate change. We're witnessing an outbreak of politics that cannot be contained. These “silver linings” are situated within a context of growing inequality, war, authoritarianism, violence, poverty, hunger, and the potential to undermine the Earth’s support systems through the loss of biodiversity, clean water, and a stable climate.

For decades, Vandana Shiva and Bill McKibben have used their moral imaginations to envision a better world, articulate a global agenda for sustainable societies, advocate for policy advancements, and support social movements. Join Shiva and McKibben to imagine the future from the perspective of people and the planet, including a look at what Green New Deal & Just Recovery programs could help seed around the world in terms of livelihoods, human rights, and the environment.  

Bill McKibben is one of the world’s leading environmentalists. He has been an influential author and educator for 30 years, and his 1989 book The End of Nature was one of the first-ever books written to inform a general audience about climate change. Over the last ten years, he initiated and built the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement. With the organization 350.org at its core, this movement has spread awareness and mobilized political support for urgent action to mitigate the climate crisis that is already unfolding.

Vandana Shiva is a globally recognized intellectual and activist who has shown ongoing commitment in different fields, making it difficult to label her name under a precise and unique category. At the core of her activism are: counter-development in favor of people-centered, participatory processes; support to grassroots networks; women's rights, and ecology. Author of numerous important books and articles, Vandana Shiva has shown a lifetime interest in campaigning against genetic engineering and the negative impact of globalization, advocating for the crucial importance of preserving and celebrating biodiversity.


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About the series, "Inspiring Change in Times of Crisis: Conversations That Matter With Right Livelihood Laureates". The Right Livelihood College at UC Santa Cruz and Right Livelihood Foundation have organized a series of online conversations this spring and summer. Right Livelihood Award laureates are among those who have implemented large-scale solutions to the root causes of global problems. Now, and in the years immediately ahead, we have an unprecedented opportunity to amplify these ecological and social solutions, frameworks, policies, and social movements. Watch this space for announcements of future sessions, sign up for our newsletter, and follow us on social media. 


Past Events in the Series

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Inequality & Vulnerability in Crisis

With Glorene Das / Tenaganita (Malaysia), Colin Gonsalves (India),  Manfred Nowak / Global Campus for Human Rights (Austria) & Emoke Bebiak (Hungary, Moderator)

Around the world, states and organizations are struggling to control the outbreak of COVID-19. The directives from WHO declares that we should constantly wash our hands, keep good hygiene, and stay inside to protect others. But how does this affect the part of the population without access to basic hygiene articles, running water or a home to take refuge in when quarantine rules are applied. Like most crises, COVID-19 takes extraordinarily high demands on those already exposed in society. How can we turn this crisis into an opportunity to strengthen human rights and more just societies?

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Threats & Opportunities for Democracy with Frances Moore-Lappé (USA), Jamila Raqib (USA), Vesna Teršelič (Croatia) & Elizabeth Beaumont (USA, Moderator)

As the Coronavirus spreads around the world, it is having far-reaching effects not only on public health but also on our capacities for democratic politics. States have responded to the pandemic in various ways as they try to quickly implement new rules and restrictions for their populations to fight COVID-19. Many of these measures have not followed regular democratic protocols for decision-making, and some raise serious concerns about threats to democracy posed by increasing authoritarianism, lack of transparency, repression of media and opposition groups and parties, and other concerns. At the same time, crises can also be moments of political opportunity. As countries grapple with the Coronavirus, there is a spotlight on issues of unemployment, labor conditions, access to health care, and social interdependence, and this may provide openings and momentum for new democratic movements and agendas. What are the threats to democracy we should be grappling with and trying to prevent? What opportunities and potentials do we see for future democratic societies that we could be building now?

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Water Justice in the Age of Coronavirus and Beyond with Maude Barlow (Canada), Robert Bilott (USA) and Andy Szasz (USA, moderator)

Water contaminated by toxic chemical wastes; hundreds of millions without access to minimum necessary quantities of potable water. These were grave, immense issues long before the coronavirus pandemic. Now the pandemic, raging globally, poses new questions for us: Do these pre-existing conditions, the polluted waters, the lack of access, make the pandemic worse? Conversely, will the pandemic affect society’s future ability or willingness to improve access and quality? These are the kinds of questions we will be exploring in this webinar with two Right Livelihood laureates, Maude Barlow, and Robert Bilott.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Women in Global Health - COVID spotlight on major challenges with Monika Hauser (Germany), Sima Samar (Afghanistan), Eva Zillén (Sweden) & Nancy Chen (USA, Moderator)

Healthcare structures around the world are now being tested, and differences in approaches are becoming increasingly visible. As in the majority of crises, women are disproportionately affected. Reports of domestic violence towards women have increased, while women are also over-represented in care work and family-related care, making it harder to maintain social distancing. How can we take advantage of and learn from this pandemic to change the global health system, so that it becomes more inclusive, accessible, and just for all?

Friday, April 19, 2020

Crisis & Opportunity: Building Solidarity Economics in the Age of Coronavirus & Beyond with Vandana Shiva (India), Nnimmo Bassey (Nigeria) & Chris Benner (USA, Moderator)

Join us for a timely panel discussion on how Nnimmo and Vandana's alternative economic frameworks are informing and informed by this moment of the coronavirus crisis. We will consider how these frameworks can inform all of us about positive paths forward, and how we might turn this moment of great tragedy and challenge into a future of opportunities.