Embrace of the Earth 2016

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Audio File

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This talk will take the audience on a visual journey to see how artists are embracing ecological consciousness. It draws mostly from three epic art shows in 2015: the Venice Biennale "All the World's Futures," Burning Man, and museum and civic arts expos and events in Paris during the UN COP 21 climate conference. The show includes: Banksy in Calais, Olafur Eliasson's "Ice Watch" and A Gift for the Earth's "Blue Whale" in Paris, and at the Venice Biennale, Chiharu Shiota's "A Key in the Hand," and Christian Boltanski's 1969 film "The Man Who Vomits."

This conference will bring together speakers on topics ranging from the roots of human experience in our conscious and unconscious minds, to the exploration of animal minds, the psychology of climate change, and the Earth Wisdom of diverse cultures, as well as dance and music. See full session descriptions here.

This conference is underwritten by the CIIS Center for Consciousness Studies and The Society for Consciousness Studies, with additional generous support by Navin and Pratima Doshi.


Jennifer Wells is a writer and professor, and has worked in video, film and radio. Her book Complexity and Sustainability (Routledge 2013), examines how complexity theories may advance environmental policy. She looks at complexity theories throughout the natural sciences, but also the social sciences, social theory, and philosophy. Case studies focus on climate change and the energy transition. The complexity framework she develops has numerous implications regarding converging, multidimensional global crises, and related environmental science, policy and management. The book explores and problematizes discourse around shifting social, economic and environmental policy from vicious to virtuous circles, and from piecemeal to synergistic approaches.

Jennifer is currently working on a book on carbon ethics and environmental politics, in the context of pressing social inequities in the race to reduce global carbon emissions. Other current writing projects include a shorter guidebook on complexity theories and global change, and articles on the discourse surrounding growth, limits and values in confronting climate change, and on the imaginary of future scenarios and visioning.

Generally speaking, her work draws on interdisciplinary social sciences and humanities, with the aim of elucidating and advancing transformation in our societies, energy policy and use, economics, and environmental conservation. She draws from the fields of sustainability studies, complexity theories, environmental ethics and politics, climate change, and futures studies. Jennifer enjoys teaching both core classes and electives in TSD, utilizing multimedia and innovative hybrid classroom and online learning techniques. She supervises doctoral students in her research areas, including work on theoretical, qualitative, multimedia and arts-based scholarship.

After graduate degrees at Yale, Berkeley and the Sorbonne in Paris, in the fields of interdisciplinary environmental issues and philosophy, currently she is on the core faculty at the California Institute of Integral Studies, Transformative Studies doctoral program.