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April 23, 2024

Student Workshop on Ecological Belonging and the Climate Crisis

The global energy transition is proceeding dangerously slowly. The December 2023 COP28 meeting in Dubai repeated the familiar pattern—idealistic rhetoric without the ambitious, practical steps necessary to confront the global climate crisis. The politics of national and corporate self-interest continue to trump the health of the planet as a whole. Only a greater sense of ecological belonging—an awareness of our interdependence with nature and commitment to care for our common home—can reframe and transform the politics of climate change at the international, national, and local levels.

How can we draw on humanity's diverse spiritual and philosophical traditions to develop a sense of ecological belonging? What kinds of educational, cultural, and political efforts can advance an awareness and appreciation of ecological belonging in practice?

This workshop  featured both a panel discussion and breakout groups that explored concrete ways to advance ecological belonging in practice—with a focus on the practical impact that young people can have in effecting positive change.

This event was part of the Georgetown Global Dialogues, which feature leading intellectuals from the Global South in forward-looking conversations with U.S.-based thinkers across a range of topics. It was co-sponsored by the Earth Commons Institute and the Office of Sustainability at Georgetown University.


Headshot of Kohei Saito.

Kohei Saito

Kohei Saito is an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Tokyo and a leading contemporary Marxist thinker. His most recent book, Capital in the Anthropocene (2020), has sold more than half a million copies in Japan and was published in English as Slow Down: The Degrowth Manifesto in January 2024. Saito’s previous book, Karl Marx's Ecosocialism: Capital, Nature, and the Unfinished Critique of Political Economy (2017), which creatively explored the ecological dimension of Marx’s thought and its contemporary relevance, won the Deutscher Memorial Prize.

Headshot of Thomas Banchoff.

Thomas Banchoff

Thomas Banchoff is vice president for global engagement at Georgetown University, where he also serves as founding director of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, and professor of government and foreign service. Banchoff's scholarship centers on ethical and religious issues in world politics. Among his books are Embryo Politics: Ethics and Policy in Atlantic Democracies (2011) and The Jesuits and Globalization (2016), co-edited with Jose Casanova. He has written for The Washington Post, Commonweal, and The Tablet, among other publications.

Pankaj Mishra

Pankaj Mishra

Pankaj Mishra is a renowned Indian author, essayist, and literary critic with a global readership. Two of his prize-winning books, From the Ruins of Empire: The Intellectuals who Remade Asia (2012) and Age of Anger: A History of the Present (2017), explore the history of colonialism and its enduring legacies in our contemporary global era. Mishra is also the author of two critically acclaimed novels: The Romantics (1999) and Run and Hide (2022). His columns and essays have appeared in The Guardian, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, and the London Review of Books, among other outlets. Mishra is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.