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Creative Approaches for Economics, Ecology, and Life:

a Roundtable Discussion


Some of the discussion was transcribed and published in Green Fire Times. Read it here

Economologies Roundtable 8/14 - part one at SFAI
Economologies Roundtable 8/14 - part two at SFAI

Wednesday, August 27th, at 7:00 pm

at The Santa Fe Art Institute


The 6 panelists come from the fields of science, public policy, psychotherapy, art, and social action.  All are exploring and questioning how we can move forward in our lives in ways that promote well-being, health, community, and sustainability.  Do we need to slow down, consume less, do less, or do more to engage more fully with our local community to find our way.  The topics to be explored address community involvement, building sustainability/resilience, and finding/promoting creative economic alternatives to the status quo.

The panel was moderated by Mary Charlotte Domandi.  It took place at The Santa Fe Art Institute, 1600 St. Michael’s Drive, on Wednesday, August 27th, at 7:00 pm.


The Panelists:


Craig Conley is an ecologist currently teaching at New Mexico Highlands University. He interests are ecological restoration, agroecology, integration of ecological, economic and cultural factors in resource decision making.  He will explore how artistic approaches to drylands grassland management have the capacity to yield new and scientifically validated approaches.


Bianca Sopoci-Belknap, is the Program Director at New Energy Economy, she will speak about the establishment of a municipal utility, Santa Fe Public Power.  Santa Fe Public Power: Communities across the United States are taking back their power to choose electricity sources that align with their values and promise a healthy future for our children. More than 2,000 cities in the US power their homes with community owned, affordable, and renewably sourced electricity that’s responsive to the needs of the people. Profits serve and benefit the community, not Wall Street. SFPP is working to create a locally owned electric utility in Santa Fe to dramatically expand solar deployment in the area, transform and improve energy efficiency programs, strengthen the local economy, and create family-supporting jobs.


Margaret Kuhlen is an artist, nurse, pastoral counselor and community organizer. She has been involved in Time Banking since 2000. In 2013 she served as a member of the Santa Fe Time Bank Board of Directors. In 2013 she was hired as the Coordinator of the Santa Fe Time Bank, a position she currently holds.  Santa Fe Time Bank is a Services Exchange Network in which each person’s service/hour is valued equally as we match unmet needs with untapped resources. This simple formula of hours exchange emphasizes Reciprocity and Relationships in exchanges, people instead of product, redefines work, and stresses that networks are stronger than individuals. Everyone has something to offer in this community, meaning we are all assets. Margaret will share about this revolutionary international movement which is the context in which Santa Fe Time Bank is growing…as a creative interactive process.


From WeArePeopleHere, Public Bank panelist will be Carmen J. Lopez. She has a Master in Public Policy, with a focus in Education, from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She worked as the Senior Program Director with Boston Public Schools’ High School Renewal Office, taught English and Technology for the Higher Achievement Program and worked for the U.S. Department of Education. WeArePeopleHere are educating ourselves, engaging others and legislating about the advantages and challenges of establishing a City, County, Tribal or a State Public Bank of New Mexico, moving our money from global banks to community banks and credit unions, aligning ourselves with those who are working to create a more sustainable, growing and democratic economy such as worker-owned businesses, co-operatives, micro-credit and supplemental currencies.


As director of The Santa Fe Art Institute, Sanjit Sethi asks, how can SFAI cultivate creative practices (from fine art to design to urban planning and beyond), engage with diverse communities and address the most pressing social issues of our time?


Nationally renowned best-selling author, therapist, and minister Wayne Muller works with circles of people around the world to challenge the jagged, painful, increasing demands of a metric story that threatens to overwhelm and suffocate the best of our ancient, sacred human story. In Sabbath and A Life of Being, Having, and Doing Enough, Wayne invites us to feel the deeper rhythms of seasons and tides, life and death, to live our lives with gentle mercy and creative compassion for ourselves and others.  He also founded Bread for the Journey (BFJ), a grassroots charity to help start local groups such as Kitchen Angels, Outside In, and Assistance Dogs of the West. BFJ sees our healing as individuals as made full and complete by tending to the healing of others. He and his wife Kelly Wendorf started the Institute of the Southwest, a collaborative group dedicated to radical, mindful change in leadership in the corporate world.


Moderator Mary-Charlotte Domandi is the host of The Santa Fe Radio Cafe on KSFR.


photos by Seth Roffman


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