The Future Nature Initiative: Gros Morne

The Future Nature Gros Morne (2015) assembled a community of concern around the fragile land and seascape on the West Coast of Newfoundland. It was an experimental fusion of academic conference, public engagement, experiential learning, and art expo, in short, a festival.

Over seventy researchers from a variety of disciplines across the university, artists, and community leaders, met at three different locations (urban, rural, and wilderness) for four days of talks, exhibits and field trips centering on the theme of nature and environmental issues. The goal was to stage an ecological intervention in a threatened area of the planet (the Bonne Bay region, including Gros Morne National Park) and open up a dialogue with local communities for the sake of envisioning a sustainable future for the area.

Philosophers talked to scientists; sociologists talked to theologians; all talked to the public, made up of local people, aboriginal communities, and students from high school to the graduate level. Just as important, all walked the land together to bear witness to this special and endangered place, Gros Morne.

“. . . a tremendous, fascinating and inspiring event”

– Professor Uwe Voigt, University of Augsburg

“Exceptional in awakening and confirming the passion I have for doing my part to be nature’s friend”

– Gordan Slade, Chairman, Shorefast Corporation

“Extraordinary . . . trans-disciplinary . . . awakened the mind, heart and body to an intense understanding of the state of nature, and inspired all to work for change. Most importantly, we were there, learning from the place: Gros Morne”

– Professor Heather Eaton, Saint Paul University

“What made the Future of Nature so special is that it acted on behalf of the vanishing biodiversity of the earth by re-activating and re-deploying the repressed diversity of cultural life. It was not only a life-changing and awakening experience, but also a genuine glimmer of hope”

– Professor Jason Wirth, Seattle University

The Future Nature 2015 Sponsors

About The Future Nature Initiative (FNI)

Integral Ecology in Practice

The Future Nature Initiative stages ecological interventions in significant land and seascapes by creating an open and celebratory atmosphere for all involved. FNI is animated by the assumption that experiential learning, performance, and art are a necessary means through which new ideas, values, and attitudes are created, tested, and, importantly, embodied.

"How do you change the way the world thinks and acts? By breaking down barriers, between disciplines, between academics and the general public, between communities, between human beings and nature.""

Through knowledge mobilization and public engagement, coupled with experiential learning and the arts, the Future Nature Initiative aims at nothing less than ecological conversion. It is not enough to talk about the challenges facing the earth over the coming years; we must learn new patterns of behavior, imagine alternative models of production and exchange, engage the senses, and intimately acquaint individuals and groups with local environments and cultures.

Thanks to all who made The Future Nature 2015 the huge success that it was!

See below for a video by Barry Stephenson and a gallery of photos by Esther Squires.


The Future Nature: Images and Voices

The Future of Nature: Images and Voices from Barry Stephenson on Vimeo.

Photos from September 10

The Aboriginal Sharing Circle at Marble Inn Resort, and the barbeque afterwards.

Photos from September 11

Opening ceremonies and Session 3 at Grenfell Campus, Corner Brook, and the Evening Gala in the Fine Arts Theatre.

Photos from September 12

Arrival at the Bonne Bay Marine Station at Norris Point in Gros Morne National Park, the water taxi to Woody Point, the Tablelands Hike, the Bonne Bay Inn, and “The Muscle We Long With” performance at St. Pat’s Church.

Photos from September 13

Talks at the Bonne Bay Marine Station and the Western Brook Pond hike and boat tour.