Roundtables on Altruism


Forum 21 Institute has co-sponsored extensive publications and videos concerning mainstream science’s new Altruistic Evolutionary Paradigm and its important implications for social change, culture, politics, economics and religion.


Ethics and Spirituality Initiative



The Ethics and Spirituality Initiative for Sustainable Development (ESI) began to take shape in December 2010 at the Earth Charter+10 Conference in Ahmedabad, India. The conference’s working group on religion and spirituality framed action steps, which included the development of a statement by religious and spiritual leaders aimed at preparations for the Rio+20 conference. A second action focused on developing educational experiences to help our constituencies understand how they can effectively act to bring about strong sustainability and transformative change. ESI was engaged in 2011-12 in shaping both of the themes for the UN’s Rio+20 conference—a green economy and the institutional frameworks for sustainable development. In addition to lobbying efforts, ESI coordinated the drafting of the Peoples’ Sustainability Treaty on Ethical and Spiritual Values for Sustainable Development. This document was one of fourteen Peoples’ Sustainability Treaties that were presented as alternative outcomes for Rio+20, .  After Rio+20, ESI began working on the UN process for developing a post-2015 development agenda (as the Millennium Development Goals expire). The challenge is three-fold: (1) to be clear on those policy and practice priorities that need to be put in place by governments and other stakeholders, (2) to work effectively together to build a global citizens’ movement that will bring about the political will to adopt these policies and practices, and (3) to implement these policies and practices in our own lives, organizations, and spheres of influence. From 2013 to 2014 the Forum 21 Institute collaborated with ESI to co-sponsor several meetings and conferences in New York City.



Side-Events on Ecospirituality and Sustainability at the Parliament of the World’s Religions (Salt Lake City, October 2015).  Partnering with preparation for December’s World Climate Conference in Paris.  Forum 21, with the Interspiritual Network and other partners hosted nightly side-event discussions on preparation and synergy of the world’s religious communities looking toward strategic participation in the World Climate Conference.  The groups created a large display area in the major foyer of the Parliament hosting posting boards for messages and commitments to the delegates and working groups of the World Climate Conference.  Side event meetings and the major Parliament foyer action board are shown in the photos below.  The display area of the Interspiritual Network, Forum 21, Center for Earth Ethics and others initiatives for linking the October 2015 Parliament of the World's Religions to the December 2015 Paris Global Climate Summer in Paris. Each colored ribbon represents a group that made a specific commitment to particular participations at the Global Climate Summit.


Rome and Assisi
June 27 – July 4, 2017

The aim of this conference was to bring together people from a range of ecological and spiritual perspectives, centers and movements to create networks and seek transformative global change
based upon principles related to spirituality and sustainability. A means to achieve that goal was a series of focused conversations to identify recommendations for moving forward to a just, sustainable and peaceful future that would support human development for all in a flourishing Earth community. The conference drew inspiration from earlier Assisi conferences in the 1990’s which featured the visionary environmentalist and eminent scholar, the late Thomas Berry. This conference was also inspired by the vision of St. Francis and St. Clare in the context of the recent papal encyclical on ecology “Laudato Si,” as well as from the Earth Charter and other thought leaders in spirituality and sustainability. The conference focused on explaining the worldviews of participants (grounded in ecological spirituality), on sharing transformative paths for education, lifestyles and communities and on emerging new paradigms for science, economics and law. Strategies to deepen the United Nations new development agenda were explored, with a specific view to including environmental principles in education and protecting and nurturing sacred places. Directors from the Forum 21 Institute worked on the planning of this conference, made key presentations and helped with the recruitment of sponsors. Forum 21 saw this conference as especially important as it was an opportunity to bring together a wide range of faith and value based organizations and NGO’s to work in harmony in the future on important goals. Convenors and several sponsors included the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminar, the Center for Ethics at Saint Thomas University, the Center for Environmental & amp; Sustainability Education at Florida State University, the Thomas Berry Foundation, Earth Charter International (Costa Rica), the Franciscan Action Network, the Forum on Religion & amp; Ecology at Yale, the Institute of Noetic Sciences, the Covergence Academy, Sukyo Mahikari Europe (Luxembourg).

For photos of the event click here


Spiritual leaders from Mesoamerica, Mexico and Sierra Nevada, and Colombia traveled to Fukushima and Mt. Fuji for the healing and restoring the balance of Mother Earth.

The purpose of this trip was to accomplish the first trip of the first phase of our ongoing Mission: Healing and Restoring the Balance of Mother Earth. In this trip, we delivered spiritual food and offerings to the sacred sites and affected places; we conducted rituals, walks, fasts, healings and honoring ceremonies to the sacred lands.


Together with many other faith based community leaders who came from across the country, Forum 21 participated in the People's Climate March on April 29. The march was a huge success, with over 200,000 people participating in Washington, D.C., and tens of thousands more taking part at over 370 sister marches across the country. The march was a peaceful non-violent march that demonstrated solidarity for “climate, jobs and justice.”


In New York from July 10th to July 19th, Forum 21 participated in the HLPF meetings as participants and observers. The High-level Political Forum, United Nations central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals, provides for the full and effective participation of all States Members of the United Nations and States members of specialized agencies.


Forum 21 Institute “Spiritual Values and Agenda 2030” Workshop


Forum 21 cosponsored a workshop with leaders of FBO’s and VBO’s.The first session consisted of many wonderful speakers from the UN and civil society who spoke of the relationship between their faith and spirituality and the SDGs, what they and their organizations are doing in its implementation and of the implementation priorities. The second half consisted of a group discussion where the participants sat in a circle and shared with one another the many successes and challenges of working with and within the UN system and the future direction and role of religion and spirituality at the UN.


Crestone is a legendary cultural and ecological vortex, uniting heritages of indigenous wisdom and sacred geometry with a history of harmony and peace building.  It is also the location of multi-faith centres of over a dozen world traditions.

This extraordinary gathering brought together key leaders from a variety of organisations for the purpose of relationship building. The Crestone Convergence represented a unique coming together of a wide variety of people and groups and proved to be a rich and fruitful three days of sharing, deepening into relationship, exploring the richness of the environment, and drawing inspiration from the great work that is being done as well as from the work that is unfolding.

A number of "hubs" were represented at the conference, both locally and internationally.  Internationally, leaders of over a dozen major networks doing transformative work worldwide were represented.  Locally, practitioners, leaders and organizations across the whole Crestone landscape were also there (the Crestone Spiritual Alliance, the Crestone Baca Resiliency Manitou Foundation etc.).  And further, the entire gathering was grounded in indigenous shamanic practice brought by, among others, Mindahi Bastida Munoz, Roger La Borde and John Milton. Ken Wilber created an inspiring introductory video for the event and James O'Dea composed a moving commemorative poem and call to action.  


Crestone and the Sacred Sites Program

One of the geographic locations revealed in the sacred sites vision was the Four Corners of the USA. The Four Corners is a region of the United States consisting of the southwestern corner of Colorado, southeastern corner of Utah, northeastern corner of Arizona, and northwestern corner of New Mexico. The Forum 21 Institute worked with Mindahi Bastida (coordinator of the Sacred Sites program) and researched several areas in Crestone. This is because Crestone is located in the eastern most section of the Four Corners. Mt Blanca, a sacred mountain revered by the many indigenous peoples of the area proved to be a high candidate for the Four Corners sacred site. If confirmed by the Otomi and Kogi elders, representatives will be brought to Mt Blanca in September 2018 to carry out the necessary prayers and rituals. 


Forum 21 is a co-sponsor of summer 2016’s “Self Care to Earth Care” events in Colorado.  Co-produced with the Interspiritual Network and Light on Kundalini these events are in their third year.  Cities that have hosted events include Denver, Boulder, Aspen, Carbondale and Crestone. 2016’s schedule includes Boulder, Carbondale and Crestone.  Programs address “Waking Up and Growing Up” as features in Ken Wilber’s video from 2015’s Denver event, which has been seen by over 40,000 viewers worldwide:  

Watch the Video: here


Waking Up/Growing Up


“Waking Up” is about Spiritual Practice and personal direct experience; “Growing Up” is about all the aspects of building a world based on the vision and values that emerges from that depth of that direct experience of who we all are. Prominent in the discussions is the future of the world Sustainable Development Goals and the question of how to create “a world that works for everyone”. The programs involve major international voices on the questions of spirituality and global transformation based on universal vision, values and ethics.

2016 offers programs in Boulder, June 11-12; Carbondale, June 13-14; and Crestone June 15-16. Presenters include Dr. Kurt Johnson and Yanni Maniates of Forum 21 and The Interspiritual Network, Karuna of Light on Kundalini and, Woody Vaspra of the World Council of Indigenous Elders, along with representatives of local and regional transformational groups. Past presenters have included Ken Wilber, David Sloan Wilson, Mirabai Starr, Rick Clugston, Ruel Walker, Elizabeth McLeod, Maikwe Ludwig, Greg Reitman, Jonathan Ellerby, among others. The Self Care to Earth Care website in the ongoing presence of these annual programs.


Side-Events on Ecospirituality and Sustainability at the Parliament of the World's Religions


Partnering with preparation for December’s World Climate Conference in Paris.  Forum 21, with the Interspiritual Network and other partners hosted nightly side-event discussions on preparation and synergy of the world’s religious communities looking toward strategic participation in the World Climate Conference.  The groups created a large display area in the major foyer of the Parliament hosting posting boards for messages and commitments to the delegates and working groups of the World Climate Conference.  (Salt Lake City, October 2015).


The Spiritual Summit for Social Change


On September 13th, 2014, Forum 21 Co-sponsored “The Spiritual Summit for Social Change” with the 2nd Presbyterian Church and adjoining Alexander Robertson School, NY, NY, 6 West 96th– Central Park West between 95th and 96th. It was one day that included twenty concurrent sessions of New York City transformational organizations strategizing for their 2014-2015 projects, events and plans. 


Ethics and Spiritual Values, and Sustainable Development Workshop


On August 31, 2014, Forum 21 Co-sponsored the panel Augus “Ethics and Spiritual Values, and Sustainable Development Workshop organized by the Spirituality and Ethics Initiative for Sustainable Development” a discussion on the United Nations campus as part of the United Nations annual meeting of NGO’s. Spokespersons included Ken Kitatani, Kurt Johnson, Rick Clugston, and Doug King.


Making the Leap- Sacred Earth and Global Shift


On June 10 &12, 2014, Forum 21 and The Interspiritual Network:  Starhouse, Boulder, and Davi Nikent Center for Human Flourishing, Carbondale, Colorado.  Ken Kitatani, Kurt Johnson, Rick Clugston, Karuna, and Rory McEntee, with Colin Bigelow (from Integral Life, Denver) held the “Making the Leap– Sacred Earth and Global Shift”.


The International Happiness Conference


On May 29-30, 2014,  Forum 21 and The Interspiritual Network held Spiritual Practice Seminars at  The National Happiness Initiative Conference at the University of Vermont alongside Happiness Alliance Organization.   Leaders and teachers from seven spiritual traditions shared spiritual practice tips for happiness and success in a series of special seminars.


December 2015 Paris Global Climate Summit


Forum 21 Institute and the Center for Earth Ethics co-hosted the December 2015 Paris Global Climate Summit Side Event in Paris. They were among numerous fellow travelers and held side-meetings each night at the October 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions to discuss the direction of cooperation across constituencies for Eco-spiritual and Eco-ministry work, and the direction of the Interfaith community for the December 2015 Paris Global Climate Summit in Paris.

See pictures of the event here


Faculty, administrators and graduate students from schools in 17 states, Canada and Israel are gathering on the campus of Methodist Theological School in Ohio Oct. 17 and 18 for the Midwest Symposium on Ecologically Informed Theological Education: Implications for Teaching, Learning and Seminary Life. Representing 15 faith traditions, the 70 participants are exploring how theological education can address today’s ecological reality.

The symposium is being organized by MTSO, the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development, and the Green Seminary Initiative. It is funded through a generous grant from the Luce Fund for Theological Education with additional support from the Julia Burke Foundation.

The Ohio State University’s Lonnie Thompson, one of the world’s premier climate scientists, delivers the keynote addressat 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17. The address is free and open to the public. Thompson is a distinguished university professor in the School of Earth Sciences and senior research scientist in the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State.

Valerie Bridgeman, MTSO’s interim academic dean and associate professor of homiletics and Hebrew Bible, delivers the plenary address, “Ground Game: Cultivating Food, Cultivating Communities,” at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 18.

Both addresses are being streamed live and archived, as are panel discussions covering pedagogy, interreligious matters, and science and religion. All streams are available here

View a gallery of photos from the symposium.

“An increasing number of Americans are turning to their clergy and spiritual leaders for wisdom and guidance regarding ecological sustainability,” said MTSO Associate Professor Timothy Van Meter, an organizer of the symposium. “This event offers resources to explore how theological schools can address these ecological concerns from a theological and educational perspective.”

Methodist Theological School in Ohio provides theological education and leadership in pursuit of a just and sustainable world. In addition to the Master of Divinity degree, the school offers master’s degrees in counseling, theological studies and practical theology, along with a Doctor of Ministry degree.

Engage with MTSO through Facebook and Twitter (@MTSOedu).

Watch MTSO Video



Press Release


Political dysfunction is impairing our national ability to deal with clear and present dangers to our survival as a nation and to the habitability of the Earth.
Our focus is neither conservative nor liberal but on democracy which is to say, the set of mutually agreed upon rules by which we conduct the public business. Our Constitutional history and the long evolution of the ideals of self-governance require open and free elections, inclusivity, fairness, transparency, and accountability of officials. To meet this standard, democracy requires a free and fair press, broad civic intelligence, a fair and robust judicial system, and a reasonable distribution of economic costs, benefits, and risks throughout society.
The core idea is that robust democratic institutions are necessary to making real progress on climate change, sustainable prosperity, and security broadly defined.  We intend to further a national conversation about the state of American democracy and to advance the cause of “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Specifically we propose a national discussion focused on two overriding issues but with special attention to those of voting rights and citizenship:

 1.      The Constitutional and historic origins of our present crisis; and the  2.      Long-term changes necessary to accommodate the principles of self-governance to the realities of the 21st century
Oberlin College in collaboration with the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado, the Schwarzenegger Institute and other organizations will launch this national conversation about the future of American Democracy on November 15-17. Subsequent events will occur in Denver, Los Angeles, and other cities. 


Key leaders from Korea will gathered in Claremont to collaborate with US leaders around the shared vision of an ecological civilization, and the steps needed to initiate the transition on a global scale. Participants represent leaders in national and local government, NGOs, universities, journalism, and religions. Each participant and key speaker brings a unique set of skills, experiences, and achievements, critical to ushering in a new ecological paradigm. Inspired and guided by the work of John B. Cobb, Jr. whose vision was at the heart of the 2015 Claremont conference “Seizing an Alternative: Toward an Ecological Civilization,” we will examine big ideas toward a new paradigm for the future and how this vision is already being actualized by scholars, activists, governments, and politicians, in Korea. Forum 21 Institute will give a presentation on “Yoko Civilization (Kotama Okada’s vision) and Integral Ecology.” 


Click here to learn more