Peter Forbes speaks at the Center for the Environment

Peter Forbes-Ties that Bind Human and Land

tl_files/cfte/images/Speakers/peter_forbes.jpgPeter Forbes was the perfect speaker for Earth Day. In his years as a conservationist, he has learned that the work is all about relationship building. He has also learned that those who are interested in conservation and those who are interested in social justice must work together to solve the planet’s problems.

Forbes, co-founder of the Vermont-based Center for Whole Communities, spoke April 22 at the Center for the Environment. The next day, he led a day-long workshop, “Building Communities for a New Nation.”

In his evening remarks, Forbes emphasized that people and the land are tied together, and what affects one affects the other. He listed places as diverse as Bull Run Farm, Devil’s Den, Central Harlem, Cedar Mesa and many more, saying, “This is who I am. That’s me. That’s my story.”

He noted, “I thought my story was about me,” but it’s really about “waters, food, wood, dream, memories” tied to many different places.

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Q&A with Peter Forbes

tl_files/cfte/images/Speakers/2010.4.23_Peter_Forbes /2010.4.23_Peter_Forbes_DSC_0349.JPGJuanita Teschner, director of communications at the Center, recently interviewed Forbes for this Q & A.

Q:The Whole Communities concept is based on ‘whole thinking.’ What do you mean by that?

A: Whole thinking is the attempt to treat not just the symptoms of a problem but the root causes of that problem. So when we speak about whole thinking, it’s an attempt to see what’s at the cause – the very root – of these challenges we face in either land conservation or building healthy, whole communities.

Q: Tell us about the Center for Whole Communities and why this work is so important.

A: We are a leadership development organization that works with communities and organizations and coalitions who want to make their change-making efforts more effective. All our programs are focused on seeing the different parts of a system and bringing the different parts of that system together to see how they might work more effectively together.

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