Letter From John Cobb – July 27, 2021

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Dear Friends,

I hope that, by the time you get this, you have spent some time with the new platform. Richard is counting on your help in improving it and adding information before we open it up to the wider community. Even though you are already considered member organizations, in order to share news, post events, and interact with others on the platform, you will need to sign up (here). Please let Richard know if you need assistance. But in the meantime, I want to share some good news.

I think we can agree that two of the most important areas for the radical change process folks want are agriculture and economics. Until very recently, the only farming in our network has been Bonnie Tarwater’s. She is in the lead in relating our spiritual life to the land. She thinks of creating a place people will go to pray for the land. Meanwhile she offers services every Sunday afternoon at 4:00 PM Pacific, where we can worship God, sometimes with goats and ducks and chickens. Do Zoom in. You can find out more information and learn how to Zoom on the Church for Our Common Home website.

Now she is joined in our Nexus by Stephen Yorba who was converted to the land at Claremont School of Theology decades ago. He has given his life to urban farming in Pomona. Despite many setbacks, as urban culture cuts against urban farming, he has persisted and accomplished much, working of course with others. An organization that he works closely with has had a breakthrough recently with a grant from the state to organize compost centers. His organization is “Community Partners for Innovation.”

Compost turns “garbage” into rich soil in a world in which industrial agriculture is depleting the soil everywhere. Our rulers have decided that we don’t need the land and farming. We can use up and poison the soil. We can kill the pollinators. We can mess up the climate. They think it does not matter. We will manufacture food instead. Bonnie, Stephen, and many of us have another sense of what the good life, and even the survival of most of humanity, requires. Welcome, Stephen, please keep us informed.

When Herman Daly and I wrote “For the Common Good,” one of our greatest supporters was Mark Anielski. But Mark’s “support” went well beyond promoting what we had done. He built upon it, and he went much farther. We asked economists to take sustainability into account. He asks economists to replace the present discipline with one that simply seeks to promote human happiness in the context of nature. He spells out what that would look like in books like The Economics of Happiness (2007) and An Economy of Well-Being (2018), and he connects his concerns with those of many others. He has now connected with us as well. The organization that is now part of our Nexus is Anielski Management Inc., but in truth, his joining with us relates us also to a much larger group of activities organized as “Indigenomics,” as he is also part of the Indigenomics Institute. This works with and for indigenous people everywhere, but especially in Canada where he lives, deeply respecting their wisdom.

  • 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.