Conversations are informal gatherings to address important questions of our time that can become dimensions of building more positive futures. They provide space to share thoughtful and diverse opinions and to increase our understanding, appreciation and curiosity. Conversations take place in the Mid-Hudson Valley in New York State.

Being Responsible Consumers and Producers:  A Look at Positive Demonstrations of Work in Our Region.

In support of the UN’s SDGs #12, Responsible Consumption and Production, RiverTides is hosting a Public Conversation about what is being done in the food system and recycling and reusing materials in our region that enables morSiennah photoe sustainable consuming and producing.  One of the issues at the heart of the environmental challenges we face today is a fundamental question of our  relationship to our things – our food, our gadgets – and the need to move to  a more sustainable, less wasteful culture.   There will be presentations by three regioEileen Headshotnal projects followed by an open conversation about what’s working and how to spread these and similar  efforts.  Presenters are:  Eileen Banyra founder of the Community Compost Company, Sienna Yang founder of Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, and John Wackman  coordinator of the Repair Cafes in the Hudson Valley.

Transforming Our World:  The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – the 2030 Agenda

jimena118The Sustainable Development Goals are a global plan of goals and targets for human and planetary sustainability for the next 15 years, a 17-point plan to end poverty, combat climate change and fight injustice and inequality.   (For more information see:  Jimena Leiva-Roesch, who is currently a Policy Analyst, at The International Peace Institute will lead off the Conversation.  From 2009 to March 2015, she worked for the Permanent Mission of Guatemala to the UN in New York, where she last served as Counselor. She was the lead negotiator for the Sustainable Development Goals and the post 2015 development agenda. Jimena was also Guatemala’s point person for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). She has represented the Group of 77 and China in negotiations at the UN. Jimena offers hands-on training in negotiations to new diplomats at the United Nations University in Tokyo and other institutions.  The Conversation is co-sponsored by RiverTides, Lifebridge Foundation, and Mohonk Consultations.  

Recent topics include:

  • Our world is becoming increasing interconnected on many levels. What are the positive dimensions of this trend as we face today’s challenges?
  • How do we see and respond to “the other”, the refugee, the fugitive, particularly in this time of mass migration?
  • There have been many cultural and religious traditions that frame our relationship to the earth and to “all our relations”.  How do we see this relationship today – are we masters, steward, or co-habitants?  How does this frame our response to environmental and other related issues?
  • What is the effect of social media on ourselves, our relationships, and on society?
  • A Conversation on American Promise: identity, racism and schools.
  • What meaning does citizenship have today for our connections to local community, nation and the world?
  • Ritual and tradition – what role do they play in society and in our lives today?
  • What are the fundamental values underlying liberal and conservative perspectives?
  • Is suffering necessary to life, to creativity, to becoming fully ourselves?

Previous Conversations that have engaged invited speakers include:

More Humus, More Humanity:  How does our way of seeing, thinking, and speaking impact the health and sustainability of our soils?  This was a conversation on soil health and understanding our interconnectedness with the living systems of our planet led by Bruno Fallador, Director, Living Soils Initiative at The Nature Center.

Farms to Schools and Schools to Farms, a conversation about strengthening collaborations between farms, nonprofits, and schools to create school gardens, facilitate science education, support an increased awareness of food production and systems, improve nutrition, to build a greater sense of connection in the communities in which schools and agriculture coexist, and to strengthen the family farms in our region.

An Inquiry into World Citizenship in a Time of Great Integrations and Great Divisions with Nancy Roof,  editor and publisher of the journal Kosmos.

Media, Mystics, Musings with Rolland Smith, broadcast journalist and poet.img047

Healing Our Relationship with Nature: Economic, Environmental and Spiritual Perspectives on the Catskills with Tom Alworth, biologist, former Executive Director of the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development.

www.rivertides.orgHuman Development and Peace with Dr. A. T. Ariyaratne, Founder and President of the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement in Sri Lanka.