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February 10, 2012 – Future Generations Conference: True Wealth in a Green World
More than 50 lawyers, law students, and community members gathered on February 10, 2012, at the Barry University School of Law for the third annual Future Generations Conference, presented by the Center for Earth Jurisprudence. The program, titled “True Wealth in a Green World,” explored an expanded definition of wealth that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.
For its theme, the conference drew upon an older definition of wealth that meant “welfare, weal, and abundance,” an original meaning not tied to material possessions or money value. As Sister Patricia Siemen, director of the Center for Earth Jurisprudence, observed, “This underlying other meaning remains: that which gives abundance, welfare, good living. True wealth is the welfare and the well-being of the larger community that includes the needs and good of the individual.”
The conference was opened by award-winning environmental writer and documentary filmmaker Bill Belleville, who encouraged the audience to re-encounter the unique “sense of place” created by Florida’s natural areas, and to appreciate the essential contributions of land, water, plants and animals, as well as Florida’s human explorers and inhabitants, to the Florida experience. Mr. Belleville’s latest book, Salvaging the Real Florida: Lost & Found in the State of Dreams, was recently awarded the National Outdoor Book Award for natural history literature. Hear a portion of Mr. Belleville’s presentation here.
Janelle Orsi, a “sharing lawyer” from California who co-directs the Sustainable Economies Law Center, introduced the new practice area of sharing law, which has recently been recognized by the American Bar Association as a new specialty area, helping clients navigate the legal challenges posed by such environmentally friendly practices as food co-operatives, car sharing, and urban farming. She offered a new model for legal practice, based upon data showing that about 70% of potential clients, those in the middle of the economic spectrum, are underserved by the legal community, and suggesting that legal job growth will come from serving that client base. Her approach generated much interest among the Barry law school alumni in attendance. Ms. Orsi is finishing a book on sharing law, following the success of her earlier work, The Sharing Solution: How to Save Money, Simplify Your Life & Build Community. Ms. Orsi’s talk is excerpted here.
Janie Barrera, president and CEO of AccionTexas, the largest non-profit microlender in the United States, explained the vision and philosophy that created the company and grew it into a multi-million dollar operation with ten offices in three states, more than 2,200 active clients, and a payback rate above 90%. Under her leadership, ACCIONTexas provides vital funding to small businesses that do not qualify through banks. Ms. Barrera credits the company’s relationship-building with their borrowers—car lots, hair salons, restaurants, and daycare centers, to name a few—to their high payback rate. She emphasized how a new model of lending can benefit communities by overcoming the flaws in the traditional economic system. An excerpt from Ms. Barrera’s presentation is available here.
The individual presentations were followed by a panel discussion of additional aspects of true wealth. Kelly Swartz, Esq., founder of IngenuityLaw, a boutique intellectual property firm, explained how she “rebalanced her life account” by choosing to start her own firm. Tia Meer, president of the Simple Living Institute, discussed the real value of food and included information about sustainable gardening in Florida. Don Hall, executive director of Transition Sarasota, provided a history of energy consumption and current consumer lifestyles, and offered a model for communities to transition to more sustainable ways of living and working.
The Future Generations conference represents an ongoing effort by the Center for Earth Jurisprudence to provide education and probe significant areas of the essential task of this generation: reconciling current human needs and the needs of future generations of all species.
The Center for Earth Jurisprudence gratefully acknowledges partial funding for Future Generations programming from the Kalliopeia Foundation.
To join the Center for Earth Jurisprudence mailing list and receive notification of future conferences and events, contact Jane Goddard at email@example.com or (321) 206-5788.
Upcoming CEJ EventsSister Pat Siemen: Advancing Rights/Rites of Ecosystems
May 17, 2013 ~ 12:50 p.m.
During the Florida Native Plant Society 2013 Convention, themed Celebrating La Florida, The Land of Flowers
University of North Florida
Read more details here.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~Sister Pat Siemen: Awakening to Earth's Rights: Transformative Shift
May 26, 2013 ~ 10:30 a.m.
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of St. Augustine
St. Augustine, FL
Contact: (904) 471-2047
~ ~ ~ ~ ~Sister Pat Siemen: Planting Seeds of Earth Jurisprudence
June 4, 2013 ~ 7:00 p.m.
Tarflower Chapter, Florida Native Plant Society
Other Upcoming EventsJohn Moran: Springs Eternal: Florida's Fragile Fountains of Youth
March 23 - December 15, 2013
Photographs from the recent and distant past combine with contemporary views to create a then-and-now narrative of Florida's springs.
Florida Museum of Natural History
Contact: (352) 373-9718
Read more details here and please visit
John Moran's website.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~Florida Native Plant Society: Celebrating La Florida, the Land of Flowers
May 16 - 19, 2013
University of North Florida
Read more details here.
Learning to See Naturally ~ Nature Journaling WorkshopsVisit our nature journaling blog, Learning to See Naturally, for poems, photos, stories and other nature-inspired creative works from our workshop participants.
- Getting to One-Planet Living May 21, 2013Worldwatch Institute’s State of the World 2013 explores new ways to measure sustainability and live within our planet’s boundariesWashington, D.C.—As the world continues down the path of unmitigated and unsustainable development, it is becoming increasingly clear that we have successfully pushed ourselves out of the stable geological era of the Holocene and […]Maddy Traynor
- Getting to One-Planet Living May 21, 2013