Ecology Center Event

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Ecotopia 2050—Live Stream Speaker Discussion Series, Now through December 17

Thursday | October 01, 2020 — Thursday | December 17, 2020

Online Event

Ecotopia 2050 5-Part Speaker Series: Learner Friendly Discussions

Ecotopia 2050 is designed as a 5-Episode speaker discussion series with the first episode serving as an introduction/prelude to the event. The speaker discussion series is paired with corresponding book club meetings that give participants a more intimate opportunity to discuss the themes of the book in the community. Every episode is learner-friendly and offers the participant the opportunity to explore environmental topics that are relative to our past, present, and future.

Based on the 1975 blockbuster utopian novel Ecotopia, this discussion and book club event series revisit some of the futuristic visions of the Ernest Callenbach classic. His visionary ideas, and those of his generation, that he so skillfully captured in Ecotopia are a fascinating amalgam of technical, economic, societal, and cultural transformations. They are predictive on so many levels, and the series will explore what has come true, what remains on the list of things to do that were proposed, and what new visions we might begin to pull together in the construction of an updated Ecotopian vision of today.

Registration Instructions
1. Choose your experience (single episode) or full series
2. Are you joining the book club? *choose the add on
3. Check out.
4. A secure Zoom link will be sent 24 hours ahead of event time to registered email.

Limited Income $20 single episode
Membership $25 single episode
General admission $35 single episode

No-one turned away for lack of funds.
EC Scholarship Request form here


As the Ecology Center also commemorates its 50th Anniversary, the series is reflective of some of the aspirations and visions that the original founders of the Ecology Center had for the Bay area and Beyond. The vision for a world of sustainable cities; empowered resilient communities; zero waste and zero toxins; equal access to healthy food; sustainable resource use; and a safe and stable climate

Episode Breakdowns:

Episode#1: Welcome to Ecotopia

Date: Thursday, October 1, 2020, 7:00-8:00 PM
Platform: Zoom Webinar/Facebook Live
Featuring: Hannah Estrada, Youth vs. The Apocalypse + Martin Bourque, Ecology Center Executive Director

Description: In the 1970s, Ecotopia captured the values and vision of a generation. What does the upcoming generation of activists think? This dynamic dialogue between Martin Bourque, Ecology Center Executive Director, and activist Hannah Estrada from Youth vs. the Apocalypse will dive into how this vision has succeeded and fallen short. Ecotopia is intersectional in its vision but falls short of addressing today’s major crises. Together, Martin and Hannah will explore what kind of vision we need to have a sustainable, healthy and just society by 2050.

Episode #2: Ecotopia and The Future of Food

Date: Thursday, October 29, 2020, 7:00-8:30 PM
Platform: Zoom Webinar
Featuring: Michael Pollan, New York Times best selling author

Description: Ecotopia describes a food production system utilizing agroecology and sewage to reach a stable and restorative state. Ecology Center Executive Director Martin Bourque and visionary author and journalist Michael Pollan will discuss this vision, what elements have come true, and what the future of farming could look like. They will dive deep into diverging paths forward from ocean permaculture, plant-based diets, to precision agriculture, agricultural robots, and food and meat grown in labs. Together they will envision a future of healthy, sustainable, and just food production for the year 2050.

Episode #3: An Atlas to Ecotopia

Date: Thursday, November 12, 2020, 7:00-8:30 PM
Platform: Zoom Webinar
Featuring: Obi Kaufmann, New York Times best selling author

Description: Ecotopia envisioned a society where people are deeply enmeshed with the natural world. They work the land and respect the trees. Ecology Center Executive Director Martin Bourque and visionary Author and Artist Obi Kauffman will discuss the relationship between humans and the natural environment at the personal and societal levels. They will dive deep into the forests, the subject of Obi’s latest book, The Forests of California. From the microbial internet of the trees, to board feet, fires, and beetle booms, Martin and Obi will explore how Ecotopias vision has been advanced through Redwood summer to clearcutting and envision a safe, stable, and just future for people, forests, ecosystems, and fellow species to share in 2050.

Episode #4: Women in Power: Politicians, Sex, and Law in Ecotopia

Date: December 3, 2020, 7:00-8:30PM
Platform: Zoom Webinar
Featuring: Aya de Leon, acclaimed novelist, activist, and poet

Description: Sharing an upbringing immersed in Berkeley’s Ecotopian values Ecology Center Executive Director Martin Bourque and Acclaimed fiction writer, poet, and movement activist Aya De Leon will explore how this vision shaped and misshaped them and molded them to be engaged in the community and movements they have pursued. They will discuss key elements of the Ecotopian society structured around strong women leaders, decentralized and small government, and sexual and cultural freedom. They will dive into key elements of the vision that allow artists and academics to thrive like a 20 hour work week, a guaranteed minimum income, and a clear separation between universities and corporations. They will explore the black separatist Citystate in Ecotopia called “Soul City” and what a racially just and environmentally sound future might look like.

Episode #5: Ecotopia The Story Without Stuff

Date: Thursday, December 17, 2020, 7:00-8:30 PM
Platform: Zoom Webinar
Featuring: Annie Leonard, Executive Director Greenpeace

Description: Ecotopia describes a disposable free society. A place where people make, repair, reuse gifts and value the limited possessions they have. They have what they need and are free from the burden and addiction of consumerism. Ecology Center Executive Director Martin Bourque and Author and Activist Annie Leonard will discuss waste and consumerism. Martin and Annie will discuss Ecotopia’s use of plastics, its culture, and consumer-based product regulations. They will explore current corporate accountability strategies and a vision of a society without toxins or waste.

Join the Ecotopia Book Club!

Join the Ecology Center for our Fall Programming, Ecotopia 2050: Book Club and Speaker Series! In the Book Club, we will be reading and discussing Ernest Callenbach’s utopian novel, Ecotopia (1975), an antidote to the environmental crisis present today. Set in 2020, the book describes a North America where California, Oregon, and Washington have seceded from the United States and created an ecologically restored and advanced society. Here, nothing is wasted, fossil fuels have been nearly eliminated, and people are responsible for taking care of their environment. Ecotopians have “…come to see that their survival and happiness depend upon giving as much weight to the biological bottom line as to the economic bottom line.” 

In our book club we hope to bring people together to discuss the implications of the ecological, technological, and lifestyle changes present in the book, how they compare to the actual 2020, and where we see ourselves in the near future of 2050. If you are a bookworm concerned with the climate crisis and wish to discuss environmental topics with your community, join us to get inspired and seek environmental change! We will meet via zoom and share resources via Google Classroom.

 Meets Thursday 11/5, 11/19, & 12/10, from 6:00 – 7:30 pm PT.

Note: book club is limited to 100 registrants and individuals signed-up for complete speaker series. Book Club meets via zoom meeting.


We recommend reading the whole book, beginning to end and the epilogue and afterwards if you have the 30th or 40th Anniversary editions. While reading the book is not necessary to get a lot out of the discussions, we recommend familiarity with it and perhaps reading key sections for each dialogue. However, for the very sort on time or interest, there is the Wikipedia summary, A summary and study guide at:

Ecotopia Dialogue Focused Reading

Michael Pollan
Episode #2: Ecotopia and The Future of Food
Food, Sewage, and Stable States
Communications in Ecotopia: Press Television and Publishing

Obi Kauffman
Episode #3: An Atlas to Ecotopia
In Ecotopia’s Big Woods
Peoples’ Relationship to Nature

Aya de Leon
Episode #4: Women in Power: Politicians, Sex, and Law in Ecotopia
Race in Ecotopia: Apartied or Equality

Annie Leonard
Episode #5: Ecotopia The Story Without Stuff
Their Plastic and Ours
Energy From Sun and Sea
Consumerism (Story of Stuff)
Corporate Regulation

Click below to Buy Ecotopia online and pick up at our store


Martin Bourque Executive Director, Ecology Center
Since 2000, Martin has led the Ecology Center, a community-based organization incorporated on Earth Day in 1970. Under Martin’s leadership, the Ecology Center is leveraging local direct community service programs to have state and national impact. Martin has spearheaded innovative efforts such as creating a farmers’ market industry group, pioneering electronic food stamp access and incentives at farmers’ markets, and passing the nation’s first Soda Tax. By linking local grassroots grit with highly competent program implementation, and increasingly effective policy advocacy, Martin has led the Ecology Center to become a high impact engine for change.

Hannah Estrada, Youth vs. the Apocalypse
Youth Versus Apocalypse is a youth-led environmental justice group that focuses on the intersections of climate justice. We work hard to uplift voices of color, marginalized communities, and educate our young people. We are Bay Area-based and responsible for organizing the March 15th strike last year, and the September 20th strike last year.

Michael Pollan, New York Times bestselling author
For more than thirty years, Michael Kevin Pollan has been writing books and articles about the places where nature and culture intersect: on our plates, in our farms and gardens, and in our minds. He is the author of the new book How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence and five New York Times bestsellers: Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation (2013), Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual (2010); In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (2008); The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (2006) and The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World (2001).Several of his books have been adapted for television. Netflix created a four-part documentary series based on Cooked in 2016, and documentary adaptations of In Defense of Food (2015) and The Botany of Desire (2009) both premiered on PBS. Pollan also appeared in the Academy Award-nominated 2009 feature documentary, Food Inc.

Obi Kauffman, New York Times bestselling author
Growing up in the East Bay as the son of an astrophysicist and a psychologist, Obi Kaufmann spent most of high school practicing calculus and breaking away on weekends to scramble around Mount Diablo and map its creeks, oak forests, and sage mazes. Into adulthood, he would regularly journey into the mountains, spending more summer nights without a roof than with one. For Kaufmann, the epic narrative of the California backcountry holds enough art, science, mythology, and language for a hundred field atlases to come. Author of the best-selling California Field Atlas

Aya de Leon, acclaimed novelist, activist, and poet
Aya de Leon directs the Poetry for the People program, teaching creative writing at UC Berkeley. Kensington Books publishes her award-winning feminist heist/romance series, Justice Hustlers: UPTOWN THIEF (2016), THE BOSS (2017), THE ACCIDENTAL MISTRESS (2018), and SIDE CHICK NATION (2019) which was the first novel published about Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Aya has received acclaim in the Washington Post, Village Voice, SF Chronicle, and The Establishment.In 2020, Kensington will publish her first spy novel, about FBI infiltration of an African American eco-racial justice organization.

Annie Leonard, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA
Annie Leonard is the Executive Director of Greenpeace USA an independent environmental organization that uses research, creative communication, non-violent direct action, and people-power to expose environmental harm and advance solutions. She is also currently partnering with Jane Fonda to launch Fire Drill Fridays, a project to inspire more people to engage in climate activism. Prior to taking the helm at Greenpeace, she created The Story of Stuff, a hit 20-minute web film and book that take viewers on an eye-opening tour of the often hidden environmental and social costs of our consumer-driven culture. The Story of Stuff film has generated over 40 million views in more than 200 countries and territories since its launch, making it one of the most-watched online environmental-themed films to date and sparking a much-needed conversation about patterns of consumption today.   

For any questions or inquiries, please email

Cost: Free – $110.00

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