Eco Invasion: First Ever West Coast Ecosocialism Conference to be Held at UCSB


Eva Sinha

The world-renowned organization, System Change Not Climate Change, will be hosting the first ever West Coast Ecosocialism Conference at the University of California, Santa Barbara from Oct. 9-11. With the help of organizers Dr. John Foran, a professor in the Department of Sociology here at UCSB, and fellow Gauchos Cristina Awadalla, Emily Williams, and Summer Gray, the conference will provide a forum for discussing the existing ecological crisis and the current nature of systemic inequalities.

The conference will start with the world premiere of the documentary Climate Deadline, Paris 2015 on October 9 at Pollock Theatre. The documentary will discuss the UN negotiations that are currently underway to develop a new international climate change agreement that will be finalized in December 2015. The rest of the conference, consisting of numerous workshops, speeches, and discussions by famous environmental activists, will be held in Girvetz Hall.

“In regards to climate change, we only have another ten to fifteen years to get a handle on it”, Dr. Foran said. “We need to try to stand up for the future and take responsibility of the world in which the future generations will live in.”

The 21st Century Ecosocialism Conference, Foran stated, “centers the climate challenge, which is the greatest challenge for man for the 21st century.”

Ecosocialism is a movement that strives to not only confront capitalism, but also demand a radical change within this system. Ecosocialists argue that capitalistic governments and corporations are the source of the climate crisis, and that we need to shift to more socialistic attempts to combat the climate crisis before it’s too late.

The conference allows UCSB students and the Santa Barbara community to meet and converse with noteworthy thinkers and environmental activists like Chris Williams, co-founder of SCNCC, and Bill McKibben, the lead American environmental activist.

“It is a very intimate event in which you can talk to the speakers and participate in workshops,” Foran said as he explained the main goal of the conference. “We want to involve people in order to share ideas and learn from each other.”

Moreover, as a low-carbon conference, a few of the notable speakers, like Jill Stein, the national leader of the U.S. Green Party, will be engaging in the conference through Skype.

Another goal of the conference is to introduce the new UCSB SCNCC chapter to students, staff, and faculty. Foran states that at UCSB, “there is a critical mass of people here that are passionate about climate justice and putting pressure on the government to really do what is necessary for the climate.”

At the United Nations this December, the new international climate change treaty will be signed and many UCSB students, as well as Professor Foran, will be attending and conversing with world leaders about climate change. The SCNCC chapter brings these passionate students and faculty together to fight for climate justice.