Intellectual Infrastructure


As part of its program to invest in the intellectual infrastructure of the conservation movement and strengthen activism, the Foundation for Deep Ecology has supported numerous conferences, symposia, and events over the years. In many instances, the foundation conceived and organized seminal gatherings of conservation leaders that led to ongoing conservation initiatives or independent organizations. Other times, FDE-supported events helped activists build alliances, and better coordinate their actions to defend the natural world. A few of the many events and conferences organized or funded by FDE include:

• Envisioning a Sustainable World Population, a 1991 symposium of leading thinkers convened by the foundation to discuss overpopulation as a driving force of the extinction crisis.

• North American Wilderness Recovery Strategy Summit, a gathering of wilderness activists and conservation biologists hosted by Doug Tompkins to discuss large-scale wilderness recovery; the meeting led to the formation of the Wildlands Project (now Wildlands Network).

• IFG Teach-ins and Seminars: two 1994 meetings organized by the foundation led to the creation of the International Forum on Globalization, which helped birth and grow the anti- economic globalization movement.

• Zero Cut Funders’ Briefing, a FDE-organized foundation gathering in 1997 to expand support for NGOs that were working to end commercial logging on public land.

• Wild Thinking for the 21st Century, a 1998 FDE-hosted gathering of conservation visionaries to discuss the future of wild nature.

• Wildlands Philanthropy Meeting, a 1998 FDE-organized symposium and funder’s briefing that brought together practicioners and supporters of privately funded land conservation.

• Environment, Development, and Politics, a FDE-organized teach-in held in Chile in 2000 featuring Vandana Shiva, Martin Khor, Wes Jackson, Jeremy Rifkin, and others.

• Sustainable Forestry: Forestry Plantations and Native Forests, a 2006 two-day seminar in Santiago co-sponsored by CLT and the Chilean Centro de Estudios Publicos that discussed the ethics and practices of sustainable forestry in Chile.

• IFG Confronting the Global Triple Crisis Teach-in, a 2007 multiday event in Washington DC partially funded by FDE that addressed the intersection between peak oil, climate change, and global resource depletion and extinction.

• Aquaculture Activists Gathering, a 2008 mini-summit hosted by the foundation that brought anti-aquaculture activists from around the globe to meet at Pumalin Park in Chile; the group exchanged information and discussed strategy for opposing industrial aquaculture’s negative ecological and social effects.

• Wildlands Philanthropy Forum, a 2008 symposium coproduced by the Conservation Land Trust and the National Park Foundation, which brought together an eminent group of conservation leaders and donors; a related evening party launched the FDE-sponsored book Wildlands Philanthropy: The Great American Tradition.

Participants at Wild Thinking for the 21st Century,
a FDE-organized symposium of activists and thinkers (1998).