Defend the Sacred: Conference for Global Change Makers
Join activists from around the world for a 3-day conference on resistance and regenerating the community of life. Leaders of Indigenous communities, social movements and systemic alternatives will reflect on their experiences at the nexus of activism and spirituality, share prospects for a global culture of cooperation and invite you to participate, exchange and collaborate.
“We are governed by prayer. … We are Mother Earth defending herself.”
–Cedric Goodhouse, Lakota elder
Humanity has maneuvered itself into an existential dead end, which we can no longer escape by conventional means. Ecological, social, economic and political breakdown all result from a civilization incompatible with the principles of thriving life. We look into an uncertain future. To survive, we will need nothing short of a paradigm shift at the very foundations of human culture – from a historical pattern of domination and fear to one of interdependence, cooperation and loving care between people and all beings.
With our survival at stake, movements for radical climate action, for women’s rights, for racial, economic and social justice are currently burgeoning around the world. The youths of the world are beginning to abandon the dream of power and greed, seeking to embrace a new one. The time is ripe. Once the vision for a regenerative nonviolent world fills the hearts and opens the minds of humanity, we will experience its actual emergence. If unified by reliable trust and commitment to serve life’s inherent sacredness, the global tide of liberation and healing will be unstoppable.
The uprising of Indigenous “water protectors” against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North America evoked the possibility of a spiritual activism in the consciousness of humanity, prompting people to stand up for water, community and the Earth in many places. We felt that what began at Standing Rock in 2016 could and must turn into a planetary movement – and invited activists from around the world to gather at our center in 2017 and 2018. The Defend the Sacred Alliance will meet in a smaller group during the week prior to the conference and will then invite you to join for 3 days (August 16–19) in a wider gathering for global change makers.
The conference will work with different formats such as panels, plenaries and sharing spaces for everyone. There’ll be smaller panels for deepening in break-out groups, and open spaces to exchange and collaborate, as well as ritual, exercise and celebration to touch the experience of the sacred we want to defend.
- Resistance & prayer: What makes activism “sacred”? What have we learned in recent years?
- Regenerative systems: How can we leave fossil fuels behind and live in cooperation with nature?
- Restoring ecosystems: Can we still prevent runaway climate change? How do we heal our broken relation with the living Earth?
- Community & inner peace work: How can we structurally create so much trust and solidarity among one another that our movements become unbreakable?
- Utopia for the 21st century: What will happen after global capitalism? What can we learn from Indigenous communities, social movements and Healing Biotopes?
For preparation, we recommend reading the book “Defend the Sacred: If Life Wins, There Will Be No Losers” (Verlag Meiga, 2019).
For those of you who want to learn more, we will be offering a 4-day workshop after the conference, facilitated by Sabine Lichtenfels, Benjamin von Mendelssohn, Gigi Coyle and Orland Bishop. To find more information and sign up, go to “Activist Intensive Seminar: Is Global Healing Possible?”.
Portuguese & youth: €60
We chose this minimal price, which accounts only for basics, not the conference itself, to especially allow Portuguese activists with low income to join. If you have capacity to donate more, we invite you to help us cover the costs for the conference. We thank you in advance.
Please bring your own tent. If you have special needs, let us know.
Vegan full board
English (Portuguese and Spanish translation will be available)
Arrival and Departure
The program will begin on Friday, August 16, at 3.30pm and conclude on Monday, August 19, at 1pm. Please make sure to arrive on Thursday night or Friday morning and leave on Monday afternoon. Instead of taking a flight, consider coming by train or bus if you travel within Europe.
Please note that it isn’t possible to bring children to this conference.