Keynote Speakers

Three E's Meet the Three R's: From Ecology, Economy, and Equity to Resilience, Resurgence, and Revolution

Dr. Devon Peña

October 16, 2009, 7:00 PM, Taylor Auditorium

$5 suggested donation for community members

Environmental justice ethics are often expressed by the statement: "We don't want an equal piece of the same carcinogenic pie." How do we define prosperity in light of this statement? Devon Peña will discuss the re-imaging of the link among ecology, economy, and equity. This involves three "Rs" counterpoised to the three "Es" to account for local place-based cultures: (1) An appeal to an ecology of "resilience" instead of "sustainability." (2) A shift from rational and acquisitive individual actor models to resurgent mutual reliance models of economic relations. (3) A revolution in knowledge/power relations that subverts "equity" notions through the self-organizing and reiterative forms of place-based "autonomy." Professor Peña will discuss the 2002 Lobato v. Taylor Colorado Supreme Court decision and the 2009 Acequia Recognition Law signed by Governor Ritter in April to illustrate the concepts of resilience in ecology, resurgence in economics, and revolution in equity.


Dr. Devon G. Peña is an acequia farmer, internationally-recognized research scholar, and lifelong environmental and food justice activist. Since 1999, he is Professor of American Ethnic Studies, Anthropology, Environmental Studies, and Women Studies at the University of Washington where he led the development of a renowned Ph.D. Program in Environmental Anthropology. Dr. Peña is also the Founder and President of The Acequia Institute of San Acacio, Colorado. The Institute annually funds three graduate Acequia Fellowships to support and promote research on environmental and food justice in acequia and other traditional resource communities. The Institute also provides small farm producer grants to women-led food justice cooperatives. With his sister, Tania P. Hernandez, and his wife, Elaine H. Peña, Devon manages the Institute's 200-acre acequia farm in the San Acacio bottomlands where the family maintains several lines of native heirloom maize, bean, and squash varieties as part of a twenty-five year seed-saving and plant-breeding project. 

Dr. Peña is currently completing work on his next two books: VOCES DE AGUA Y TIERRA: FOUR HUNDRED YEARS OF ACEQUIA FARMING IN THE RIO ARRIBA which is an edited volume with original chapters from farmers, scholars, and critics (forthcoming 2010 from University of Arizona Press) and THE LAST COMMONS: ENDANGERED LANDSCAPES AND DISAPPEARING PEOPLE IN THE POLITICS OF PLACE (also forthcoming from the University of Arizona Press); The Last Commons is a deep ethnography and environmental history


of the largest common lands in the USA, La Sierra de la Culebra in the Sangre de Cristo Land Grant (80,000 acres). Most recently, Professor Peña was invited to deliver testimony before the Colorado State Legislature that was judged critical to the passage of Colorado's new "Acequia Recognition Law."  This is a historic piece of legislation that restores the watershed common-wealth form of local self governance to acequia farm communities in south central Colorado and declares that acequia customary law is distinct from the Doctrine of Prior Appropriation.

Visit Dr. Peña's "Environmental and Food Justice Blog" at:

To learn more about the work of The Acequia Institute:

Earth Democracy: Beyond Dead Democracy and Killing Economics

Dr. Vandana ShivaDr. Vandana Shiva

Humanity is besieged with crises on every front. There is financial meltdown, a climate meltdown and a social meltdown. The financial meltdown added to the crisis that had already been endangered by corporate globalizations.

October 17, 2009, 5:30 p.m., Taylor Auditorium

$5 suggested donation for community members

Climate chaos is the externality of an economic system with a heavy ecological footprint, extracting resources limitlessly from the planet and then dumping waste back on the planet.

The dominant economy has become a killing economy both in terms of its impact on the planet and its impact on people. Politics is no more able to correct a economic system which has gone out of control because corporations driving the economy are also driving politics by hijacking the state and creating a corporate state. Representative democracy has thus mutated from being "of the people, for the people, by the people" into "of the corporations, for the corporations, by the corporations". Democracy as we know is dying and taking on the shape of corporate dictatorship on one hand and violent extremist responses from the excluded elements of society on the other hand. The triple crisis needs a new imagination which transforms the dominant economic systems, political systems and socio-cultural systems into living systems that serve the planet and people. I call this reimagining of society "Earth Democracy".

Dr. Vandana Shiva is a physicist, ecologist, activist, editor and author of many books. In India she has established Navdanya, a movement for biodiversity conservation and farmers' rights, and she is the Founding Director of Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, a network of researchers specializing in ecology, health and sustainability. She has established a school for sustainability Bija Vidyapeeth on the Navdanya Biodiversity Farm in Doon Valley. Her most recent books are Earth Democracy and Water Wars. She is on the Board of International Forum on Globalization and World Future Council and she is the Vice President of global movement Slow Food International.