Climate Change & Complexity in Bangor Maine

30.9.2016 | 11:26

by Ermah Ge founder, Dr. Alder Stone Fuller

Summary: I have begun the process of organizing at least two sections of my flagship introductory course — Complexity 101: An Introduction to the Principles of Complexity Sciences — in Bangor, Maine.  In this post, I provide a link to an information packet about Ermah Ge and our Earth Studies Program, including Complexity 101, and explain that studying complexity is not merely an academic and fun exercise (even though it is fun!), but it is crucially important to understand and effectively address large-scale, abrupt climate change (which is not fun but must be done).
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I’ll set the context for this post right up front: a large-scale, abrupt climate change event has begun, and will accelerate in coming years and decades to a blazing rate of change that will change the nature of life on Earth.  Some climate scientists now believe that average global temperature will soon increase 1°C per decade, as much as we experienced in the last 100 years.  This event is shaping up to be the largest climate change event in the last 50 million years.  My thesis in this essay is that one of the most important steps in both understanding climate change and effectively addressing it is to enroll in my course, Complexity 101, beginning in Bangor during October.  I’ll return to this assertion near the end of this post.

As I explained in my previous post, I have moved my base of operations to Bangor, Maine, and am taking steps to organize an Ermah Ge learning community here to join (via teleconferencing) our learning communities in other parts of Maine and Oregon.

In order to introduce myself and Ermah Ge to the Bangor region, I’ve developed this information packet entitled “Ermah Ge in the Bangor Region“, 10-pages that include:

  • a brief explanation of Ermah Ge
  • a brief explanation of complexity sciences
  • a short bio of myself (a much longer one is here)
  • an explanation of what brought me to Bangor
  • links to our web site, sample videos and student testimonials
  • an overview of the five introductory courses in our Earth 101 series,
    including this 11″ x 17″ graphic description
  • a description and list of topics for Complexity 101
  • a description of a seminar that teaches how to apply the principles of complexity to businesses, corporations and organizations
  • an annotated bibliography for Earth Studies Program
  • a brief description of the Maine Adaptability Project (MAP), Ermah Ge’s proposal for addressing large-scale, abrupt climate change using complexity and geophysiology
  • an application to join our learning community via Complexity 101 with a brief description of our sliding scale fee structure ($100 – $500; asking price: $300)

During October, 2016, I intend to launch the first Complexity 101 course in Bangor.  Complexity 101 is my basic principles course, the portal to Ermah Ge’s entire Earth Studies Program of introductory and advanced courses and seminars.  (I’m also working on a video version of the course, and plan to offer a webinar version of the course beginning  late fall or early winter.)

My current plan is to organize multiple sections of Complexity 101 on different days and times based on student needs.  I’m fairly sure at least one will occur on Monday evenings, starting at 5:30 or 6 pm (participants will determine that).   I’d like to offer at least one more during an afternoon.

The most probable venue for the course is Central Meeting House at 29 Central St, downtown Bangor, adjacent Central Bagel.  Like all of my courses, this one will begin organically.  I like to offer a series of free lectures, including a formal introduction to Complexity 101 (here is a 25 minute video version; here is a 75 minute version), and some others about specific topics addressed in the course.  I’ll invite people — you and others — to those lectures, and a class will self-organize from among the participants.  I’ve learned  over the years that typically 15 – 25% of attendees at those lectures will enroll in a course.

Finally, I wish to link this to the most important topic of our time: the abrupt climate change event that has begun, and will transform our beautiful home planet into a different one during the next few decades.  This event has all the earmarks of the largest climate change event on Earth in 50 million years.  It challenges not only stable societies, but the very existence of our species, and many others.   I know this is an unpleasant topic for many people.  I don’t enjoy it either.  But we must address it, because there’s no stopping it now, and if we’re not prepared, it’s going to be a much rougher ride than if we are.

And here’s the link between climate change and Complexity 101 that I’ll explain in the introductions.  Complexity sciences and another science, geophysiology, are not merely necessary for a full understanding of climate change — and full understanding of a problem is necessary in order to effectively address it.  Many — I’d say most — do not understand the scale, speed and severity of what we face, and are proposing solutions that are vastly inadequate — mostly political solutions having to do with reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which are necessary but not sufficient.  Very few are actively engaged in community preparations to increase our resilience — our adaptability — to meet the challenges ahead.  There seems to still be a lot of denial about the true situation, including many who seem to think we can still stop large-scale climate change.

I advise honest hope about our situation, and a new game plan for remaking civilization to survive on a volatile Earth — as explained by Dianne Dumanoski in her wonderful and important book The End of the Long Summer (which plays a central role in our program) — that includes the emergence of new cultural maps grounded in complexity sciences and geophysiology to guide us in the future that will replace the obsolete and dangerous maps based in the linear, mechanistic views of Earth promoted by the mechanistic sciences of the last few hundred years, the very ones that got us into this mess.  (Her chapter 8 explains this eloquently and completely; it offers fine reasons to enroll in our Earth Studies program.)

And that relates to the reasons that you should study complexity sciences with us.  We want to teach you the conceptual language of complexity for two reasons.  First, it will forever and fundamentally change your understanding of virtually everything in a very positive way, including organizations, businesses, corporations and institutions; economics and politics; cells, metabolism and genetics; homeostasis, health and healing; everyday life, including cooking; organisms and evolution; the phenomenon of life, what it is, how it works, and how and why it evolved; permaculture and 
holistic management; ecosystems, global ecological cycles, weather and climate.

Second, it will contribute significantly to understanding how we must act to effectively address abrupt climate change, and ensure the existence of our species far into the future.

I hope you’ll  join us in Bangor for Complexity 101.  Please contact me
for more information about days, times, and how to enroll.


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Alder Stone & Ermah Ge, Evolution in Spring, 2015

8.4.2015 | 00:26

This post — the first in the blog on our new site, mirrored from my personal blog, alderstone3.com — contains some of the most exciting news for me and Ermah Ge that I’ve offered since arriving in Maine in summer, 2010.  Ermah Ge – the education collective that I founded in 2013 — is about to make a giant leap forward.  In the language of complexity sciences, we call that a phase transition at a critical threshold (or tipping point).

First, a little context for the last few months.  It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything substantive here.  I wasn’t slacking — no, “My cat ate my homework!” stories from me.  I was just busy with a class about geophysiology last fall and working on an ecological consulting position that was not directly related to my teaching.  (Unfortunately, the promised funding for that position never developed, so much time was lost.  🙁   But it was a learning experience, so every cloud has a silver lining.)

Then, in December, 2014, we moved our professional studio and my personal residence to a new location in Owls Head, ME, near Rockland.  I love it here!  Here’s a shot of the shore just a couple of hundred meters below the new studio.  This image will be part of Ermah Ge’s new banner image.

Then, from January to now came development of our exciting new program, The Earth 101 Experience.  Spring classes, first in Fairfield, ME — begin with free introductory overviews Thursday, April 23 and Thursday, April 30, followed by the first class session Thursday, May 7.   Please see below for more details.

Now for the best news.   First, Ermah Ge is evolving and expanding in a wonderful way.  Rockland, has been a great place for that to happen.  I love it here, and see it as my long-term home, and where Ermah Ge will be based (even though our work will extend to other Maine communities, and even to other parts of the world via teleconferences and videos).   We now have multiple associates in Maine and across the United States, and even more advisors around the world.  Our new web site is underdevelopment.

Second, our new web site is still under construction.  My personal site — alderstone3.com — will revert to my personal blog where I can be myself in a personal way, separated — mostly — from my professional existence within Ermah Ge.  (It’s been a challenge over the years using one site for both.)

Third, during the last several months, our Ermah Ge team has been busy developing our exciting new program called The Earth 101 Experience.  The page on ErmahGe.com is here; that page will develop more soon, including new videos.  It introduces basic principles of the complexity or system sciences — a revolution and renaissance in the sciences — then applies them to living systems – from cells to organisms – ecosystems, whole Earth systems, abrupt climate change and societies.  This is not merely a set of classes.  It does include classes in live and teleconferenced versions, but also readings, videos, tutorials and tutoring, conversations, an online forum, community-building & outdoor experiences.

Here is a 25 minute video introduction to the Earth 101 Experience.   Tomorrow, Wednesday, April 15, we will send details about free introductory lectures in Fairfield ME  (just upstream from Waterville) on Thursdays, April 23 and April 30, 5:30 – 7:30 pm (same lecture both days for scheduling convenience), followed by the start of classes on Thursday, May 7, 5:30 pm, also in Fairfield at the same location (Kennebec Valley Council of Governments, who are sponsoring our lectures and classes).  We also intend to offer lectures and classes soon in Rockland.  [Note: for subscribers to this blog who are not on our regular mailing list,  please contact me for details.]

Finally, we are starting a fundraising campaign to help us take Ermah Ge to the next level more quickly.  Donations can be applied to your own Ermah Ge fees for tutoring, consulting, etc, or if you choose, to a scholarship fund for financially-challenged students.   We will be sending details of that via info@ermahge.com within a few days, and will also post details both here and on ErmahGe.com.

More to come.  This year — 2015 — will be the year that Ermah Ge flowers.
The best is yet to come!  Please stay tuned!


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