Politics and Policy in Transition Webinar Series – Eco Vista: Building a Transition Town in a Student Community in California

Date: 
Tuesday, April 21, 2020 - 11:00am - 12:30pm
Cost: 
$0.00

Part of the Politics & Policy in Transition Webinar Series. This series is hosted by the Transition US Politics & Policy Working Group. We have designed it to share successful models of policy approaches and political engagement that local Transition Initiatives and other community groups can take to begin transforming their local economic, social, cultural, ecological, and political systems. Each webinar will be devoted to a specific topic or example and hosted by people centrally involved in it. The goal is to share our stories with each other to deepen our own existing work and to brainstorm new initiatives to spread the Transition message as far and wide as we can!

“Eco Vista” is the name chosen by students at the University of California, Santa Barbara, to describe their vision of turning their 23,000-resident community of Isla Vista, consisting eighty percent of students, into a model eco-village by 2030 for other student communities to draw on and ultimately to create a network of such communities.

Doing so involves significant political organization and social movement building, visionary policy proposals, including the design of and strategy for achieving a systemic alternative and perhaps even the development of a new kind of party! 

Interested folks can find our mission statement, values, and current projects at: www.ecovistacommunity.com 

This webinar will be hosted by John Foran, a co-founder of Eco Vista who teaches at UCSB, with other members of the team, including student co-founder Jessica Alvarez Parfrey, to discuss the project with listeners and to brainstorm ways to “scale it out” into other settings in the United States and maybe even the world!

John Foran is Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and teaches courses on climate change and climate justice, activism and movements for radical social change, and systemic alternatives beyond capitalism. He is a scholar-activist in the global climate justice movement, the center of the struggle for achieving social justice and radical social change in the 21st century. His work is published at www.resilience.org and can also be found at the International Institute of Climate Action and Theory [www.iicat.org]. He is an active member of Transition US, Democratic Socialists of America, System Change Not Climate Change, the Green Party of California, and Symbiosis Revolution. His Transition passion is to work with others to turn the community of Isla Vista adjacent to the university into a Transition eco-village named Eco Vista: www.ecovistacommunity.com as a model for other students and teachers to do the same in their own places!

With a background in community organizing, non-profit fundraising, and environmental activism (formerly with Greenpeace USA), Jessica Alvarez Parfrey prides herself in forever seeking transformative opportunities for radical collaboration and community co-creation. Along with John Foran, and many others, Jessica is a co-founder and volunteer facilitator for the EcoVista project; an attempt to develop a localized model of grassroots, bottom-up “just transition” in college communities and beyond. Jessica has also served as a board member and (current) President of the Isla Vista Community Development Corporation; working to create opportunities to support sustainable, just, and community-driven economic development in the unincorporated community of Isla Vista. Having formerly served as the President of the Family & Student Housing Tenants’ Union (UC Santa Barbara), Jessica worked to mobilize community assets and infrastructure to support UC System-wide goals of addressing campus food security and sustainability. In pursuing a systems-level approach to problem-solving and solution design, Jessica has amassed a diverse body of experiences as a non-traditional student, mother, dreamer, activist, researcher, and communicator. Jessica received her B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of California Santa Barbara in 2018. Jessica is driven to develop opportunities for meaningful dialogue, community-based strategy, and design informed by decolonized practice and methodologies. 

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