Letter From John Cobb – Apr 19, 2021

Dear Friends,

Although it will take time to build a platform for communication among us, we can start the ball rolling right away. I will highlight a few events coming up. If there are other events you want people to know about you can either use your list to communicate with others or let us know and we will pass on the information from time to time. As you read the following enjoy the feeling of being involved in the important work “we” are doing.

  1. The most successful member of the nexus has been the Institute for Postmodern Development of China. One of its programs has been an annual conference on ecological civilization, one of China’s declared goals. Over fourteen years, fifty to eighty Chinese, mostly from universities, have come to Claremont for these conferences on ecological civilization. Because of the pandemic, last year’s meeting was cancelled. This year, IPDC, with the support of the Center for Process Studies, the Institute for Ecological Civilization, and the Cobb Institute will experiment with a very different kind of conference. We hope it will involve more people from the United States and truly function as a bridge between concerned people of the two greatest world powers. All are welcome. For more details and to register visit the conference website.
  2. One of the most effective individuals in the process movement is Brian Henning of Gonzaga University. He has played a significant role in arranging for a critical edition of Whitehead’s work to be published. A conference to on the second volume was originally scheduled for September 2021, but it has been postponed until September 2022. To view the call for papers and find out more about the conference read the full announcement on the Whitehead Research Project website.
    But like many of us, Brian’s enthusiasm for Whitehead is not only academic. He cares deeply about its implications for the world. He has persuaded Gonzaga to create a center for promoting the causes to which most of us are dedicated, and he will lead that new organization. The Gonzaga Center for Climate, Society and the Environment will be formally announced on Earth Day, April 22nd. To read the full announcement and register to watch the event click here.
  3. For many years, much of the work produced at CPS was on science, but little has been done recently. Still, process-oriented scientists continue to work. The Cobb Institute has recently organized an advisory committee on science. Tim Eastman, a member of the committee, and a specialist in plasma physics with deep understanding of Whitehead, has published his magnum opus, “Untying the Gordian Knot: Process, Reality, and Context.” (Amazon | Bookshop.org) The committee recognizes this as a potential turning point in the history of science. Many scientists know that clinging to a seventeenth-century understanding of nature is no longer the right stance for physics. Eastman makes clear that many problems of science can be dealt with better in a process framework.
    There are plans for a face-to-face conference, and also virtual meetings. In a series of conversations, entitled “Tim Eastman Unties the Gordian Knot,” Tim will engage with other scholars about the book. They will be held the second Saturday of each month at 8:00 AM Pacific / 11:00 AM Eastern, beginning on June 12th. To join the conversations RSVP at the Cobb Institute website.
  4. The University of La Verne is not a member of our network, but the Cobb Institute has a memorandum of understanding with it, and we work extensively with some of the faculty, especially its department of philosophy and religion. Members of that department gave leadership to the creation of a major in Sustainability Studies and the Institute for the Common Good, which expresses the interest of the university in preparing students to lead in helping our society to heal itself. ULV would also like to invite you to attend the inaugural event for the new major and institute on April 22nd at 5:00 PM. The Robert and Mary Neher Global Sustainability Lecture will feature Renee Conley, CEO of Biomass Energy Systems, who will speak on “Creating Local Sustainability.” Register here if you would like to view the lecture.
  5. CHERP has joined the Nexus. CHERP-Locally Grown Power is a project of the California-based 501(c)(3), Community Home Energy Retrofit Project. Their mission is to extend the reach of renewable energy to economically disadvantaged communities. They are dedicated to creating green-sector jobs—particularly for those with barriers to entry in the workforce. They aim to stimulate local economies, pursue environmental justice and achieve greenhouse gas reductions as part of an ecological civilization. Through a licensing agreement with idealPV, they will be producing the world’s most advanced solar panels, in a non-profit assembly factory in Pomona, California. CHERP is incubating a network of distributed manufacturing centers in economically disadvantaged and environmentally burdened communities across the country.
    On Tuesday, April 27th, CHERP will host a virtual event that includes live music, a step-by-step demo of how their idealPV solar panels are manufactured, and feature the art pieces by our fantastic team of artists who volunteered their time and efforts to make CHERP’s first solar factory a beautiful and welcoming space for future employees and for all of our community members to visit. To attend the event, RSVP here.

These are just some of the many positive developments happening among the members of our community of communities.


  • John Cobb

    John B. Cobb, Jr. taught theology at the Claremont School of Theology from 1958 to 1990. In 1973, with David Griffin, he established the Center for Process Studies, and throughout his career he has contributed to scholarship on Alfred North Whitehead, and promoted numerous process programs and organizations. In recent years he has given special attention to supporting work toward the building an ecological civilization. Toward that end, he led the effort to found the Claremont Institute for Process Studies in early 2019, which was renamed in his honor one year later.