John Foran (UC) UC Santa Barbara

John Foran is Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies at UCSB, teaching courses on climate change and climate justice, activism and movements for radical social change, and issues of alternatives to development and globalization beyond capitalism. His books include Fragile Resistance: Social Transformation in Iran from 1500 to the Revolution (1993) and Taking Power: On the Origins of Revolutions in the Third World (2005). He has served as UCSB’s Sustainability Champion, works on the UC Carbon Neutrality 2025 effort, and is co-facilitator of this year’s Critical Issues in America series – Climate Futures: This Changes Everything. His research and activism are now centered within the global climate justice movement, and can be found at the Climate Justice Project [www.climatejusticeproject.com] and the International Institute of Climate Action and Theory [www.iicat.org]. He is a member of 350.org, the Green Party of California, and System Change Not Climate Change.

Ken Hiltner (UC) UC Santa Barbara

Ken Hiltner is a Professor of the environmental humanities at UCSB. The Director of the Environmental Humanities Initiative (EHI), Hiltner has appointments in the English and Environmental Studies Departments. He has published five books, including Milton and Ecology, What Else is Pastoral?, Renaissance Ecology, and Ecocriticism: The Essential Reader, as well as a range of environmentally oriented articles. Hiltner has served as Director of UCSB’s Literature & Environment Center, its Early Modern Center, the English Department’s graduate program, and as the Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron Visiting Professor in the Environment and Humanities at Princeton University’s Environmental Institute. Prior to becoming a professor, for many years he made his living as a furniture maker. A second-generation woodworker, he received commissions from five continents and had collections featured in major metropolitan galleries.


Q & A

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16 replies
  1. Lucy HG Solomon says:

    John, in your introduction to the knowledge action network you describe the primary focus for KAN as the search for solutions through collaborations. I feel strongly that in our pre-conference workshops, while we approached finding those solutions collaboratively, we dissected and rebuilt the framework for collaboration over the two days. I found myself reconsidering the collaborative process, as we mapped out ideas collectively and wrote down goals for communicating as a group. I will look at the video talks through the lens of this question: what form does the collaborative piece take? I am eager to discover the many forms that we do collaborate…

    • John Foran, UC Santa Barbara says:

      Thanks for this sensitizing question, Lucy. I too am eager to see what kinds of collaborations will be built among us after this conference is over. The promise of the KAN is evident to me. Now, comes the unpredictable, exciting process of making it work in actual projects…

  2. cslown says:

    @ John F.-Students experience an invisible knowledge action network through their largely siloed teachers/instructors/administrators and peers. How can we make the connections for students more visible or apparent? I was thrilled to learn that students from Montana will be able to participate. Is it possible to invite other students to participate as well?

    • John Foran, UC Santa Barbara says:

      Yes, Corin, I think the KAN group is willing to open this process more widely now, in hopes of eliciting more feedback from stakeholders — students, teachers, the general public. All I ask is that when any of us do so, they tell the whole group (or through me, the whole group) to whom they are opening it. So far, in addition to the students of the #freeusfromclimatechaos group at Big Sky High School in Missoula, Montana, and members of the UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative working group on Faculty Engagement and Education (who generated the KAN proposal), we have added several dozen UC, CSU, and other college instructors who have heard presentations about the KAN at this week’s California Higher Education Sustainability Conference here in Santa Barbara.

  3. cslown says:

    @ Ken H.-Thank you for the carbon neutral conference. Are there opportunities to open additional Q & A sessions to students at different age levels? For example, would it be possible to include the prison education project or community colleges?

    • Ken Hiltner (UC Santa Barbara) says:

      HI Corin,

      Great question!

      From a technical point of view, it is only possible to have one Q&A session per webpage.

      However, we could allow students to contribute to the current Q&As. In fact, if you know of any that are interested, they could simply register like anyone else to this conference and start contributing. (If so, it would probably be good to advise them to identify themselves as students with their level in their comments.)

      Another option would be to simply set up separate panel webpages for different folks, although this might be a little confusing.



  4. John Foran, UC Santa Barbara says:

    So, everyone, here’s a big question to weigh in on, please:

    What would you like to see happen to the KAN moving out of this conference?

    • Tori Derr says:

      Hi John – I was waiting for someone else to go first, but alas. . .

      I have had a few thoughts. I think at a minimum, as a way to compile and synthesize the amazing work that is shared here, it would be helpful, in a qualitative research mode, to generate some of the themes we have seen and heard, or ways of acting (campus-community, university courses, K-12, justice and equity, resilience, service learning, etc.) and to organize the people/projects among these. For me, it has been a bit overwhelming to navigate people and kind of do this processing myself. As a visual person, I could see these a circles of ideas and associated individuals that could then also be mapped, like a social network, to visually show how people identify and work. This could then be a resource that could have life beyond the ideas or projects shared through the talks.

      I would also really like to see a list of all the ideas generated from the different regional meetings for big ideas that people wanted to move forward with. There was a lot of energy and enthusiasm for many of these ideas, but we haven’t had the benefit of seeing them beyond our own regions. It might be helpful to think about institutional (university), scholarly research, and professional applications as areas for change and action (or whatever major constructs emerged from the workshops).

      I have had a couple of other thoughts as I ride my bike to work, but b/c I was on my bike, I don’t have them written down. Hopefully they will come back to me. Thanks to you and everyone for their contributions to this conference and network!

    • nseymour says:

      What I’d like to see happen is already happening, which is for us to use each other as resources — for pedagogical materials, for advice on service learning programs, etc. etc. For example, I’ll be using specific assignments and ideas from Amanda and Jade in my fall courses. But in my mind this will all extend much further; I expect that I’ll be bugging other people in the future as other opportunities and questions arise. Right now I’m just trying to process all the cool stuff y’all are doing. 😉

  5. John Foran, UC Santa Barbara says:

    Thank you Tori!

    Saving the best for first is always a good idea — ha ha.

    The good news is that as soon as this virtual conference Q and A draws to a close — and we may have to extend beyond Monday, folks, to get all of your responses [or at least to know if Tori’s first comment has been the best ;)], I am tasked with drafting an Executive Summery to the report that we will file with the UC Global Climate Leadership Council that has funded our project.

    This will be based on the excellent notes taken by Theo LeQuesne and Sarah Ray at all four regional workshops, and it will include common themes and big ideas from each workshop and across all the workshops — although I imagine that it will fall short of providing your excellent notion of a “circle of ideas” — so I will leave that to the creative energies in the network, since we will want any and all feedback on this first draft document from you all!

    Look for this around July 21.

    But, in the meantime, and this will enormously help me draft that summary of our collective dreamwork, please post your thoughts — large or small — right here!

    Thanks in advance, everyone!


    PS take pen and paper with you on your next bike ride, please.

  6. cslown says:

    @Tori D. and @John F. I have been wrestling with the same question of how… I appreciate Tori’s “circle of ideas,” especially because of the interconnectedness of so many of the talks. I was thinking of a weaving where strands overlap, looping between and through each other. I went back to nuclino and tried to make the connections of people and ideas with similar themes. Maybe that is a starting point to connect ideas together. I was hoping that other eyes could take a look and innovate or add (or subtract) to help make more sense of the collaborative potential. I, too, look forward to executive summary to help connect what is most relevant and essential in the work going forward. Thanks to all for a transformative conference. Here is to making more connections.


  7. Lucy HG Solomon says:

    An element that seems prevalent in many of the talks is data (research, archiving, data rescue, etc.). Locating this work in one location through the KAN network could aid in eliminating replicated efforts while also building a substantial archive of sustainability-based research and projects. In this way, the KAN network could serve as a repository as well as a connector for engaged researchers – for faculty and students alike.

  8. dfernandez@csumb.edu says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed the talks and ideas I heard thus far. What I will say in general about the KAN and about the idea of an online conference is that it takes a socio-cultural change in order for me (and, I assume, many others) to participate effectively. What I mean is that as a “normal” conference participant, I tend to put other things aside and put my focus on the conference. For the online conference, I have difficulty doing this and was not able to dedicate the time and attention that I normally do for a conference, so it really didn’t get the same level of involvement from me that it deserves. I also spend a lot of time in front of the computer and rather than relieving that, this format enhances that. I appreciate many aspects of the online conference, but these are the impediments that I have to it that I suspect others have as well. Having some means to address this would help me, perhaps by having some community time where a # of us view the talks at the same time and location, thus reducing the isolation of being online.

    • Tori Derr says:

      Thank you, Dan, for posting this. I agree that I have had a hard time with the momentum of the virtual conference. I have thought a lot about conferences that have had a significant impact on my work, and often this was from meeting someone, being inspired by their work, and then following up, sometimes months or years later. In one case this has resulted in a several year collaboration with colleagues in Mexico City. And while we use technology for almost all our communication (email and zoom), it has been 3 in person meetings that have really sustained our work and collaboration. Also, I am a really strongly visual learner and the talks relied so much on audio that I don’t remember a lot of what is said. I have noticed a difference in my retention of key ideas with the virtual talks. I think the virtual conference is super interesting and I support the idea, but w/o the in person meetings, I wonder how easy it will be for me to sustain or develop new work with new people via this method. I wonder if we had also had some kind of connection even if remotely or in small groups, as Dan suggests, if that would help? I think time will tell for some of it, of course, too.

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