Transitioning To An Ecological Civilization-Teachers and Facilitators

Transitioning To An Ecological Civilization-Teachers and Facilitators

Julie Richardson

Manager of Schumacher Worldwide and Senior Lecturer

Julie has taught ecological economics and international development at the Universities of London and Sussex and has worked in sustainable development for over 20 years in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe. This experience changed her view of ‘development’ – believing there is much we can learn from the wisdom of other cultures about sustainable livelihoods and restoring healthy relationship between human society and nature. Julie has created a synthesis between modern holistic science (including systems thinking and complexity science) and ancient holistic thinking in China to explore what health and wholeness means at different levels of scale (individual, community and planetary).   She is currently interested in exploring the links between modern holistic science and indigenous holistic science to explore what this means in practice for creating an ecological civilisation, east and west. 

Related publications in this area include:  Richardson et al, (2011) Resilient Economics in Harding S. (ed) Grow Small, Think Beautiful: Ideas for a Sustainable World from Schumacher College;  Richardson J. and Fleming R. (2006)  How can holistic science inform environmental policy making?; Richardson J. (2005),  ‘Ancient Insights into the Modern Organisation’ in Richardson K (ed) Managing Organisational Complexity:  Philosophy, Theory and Application..  ISCE Managing the Complex, Book Series.  IAP Press, Connecticut and Richardson J. ( 2002), ‘Checking the pulse: how healthy is your organization?’  Journal of Organisations and People, Vol 9(4). The Quarterly Journal of AMED.

Rob Hopkins

Rob is the co-founder of Transition Town Totnes (link is external) and of the Transition Network (link is external). This grew out of many years experience in education, teaching permaculture and natural building, and setting up the first 2 year full-time permaculture course in the world, at Kinsale Further Education College in Ireland, as well as co-ordinating the first eco-village development in Ireland to be granted planning permission.

He is author of The Transition Handbook: from oil dependence to local resilience (link is external), which has been published in a number of other languages, and which was voted the 5th most popular book taken on holiday by MPs during the summer of 2008, and of ‘The Transition Companion: making your community more resilient in uncertain times’, published in October 2011. He publishes the blog (link is external), recently voted ‘the 4th best green blog in the UK’(!). He was the winner of the 2008 Schumacher Award, is an Ashoka Fellow and a Fellow of the Post Carbon Institute, served 3 years as a Trustee of the Soil Association, and was named by the Independent as one of the UK’s top 100 environmentalists.

He is the winner of the 2009 Observer Ethical Award for the Grassroots Campaigner category, and in December 2009 was voted the Energy Saving Trust/Guardian’s ‘Green Community Hero’. He lectures and writes widely on peak oil and Transition, holds an MSc in Social Research and recently completed a PhD at the University of Plymouth entitled ‘Localisation and resilience at the local level: the case of Transition Town Totnes’. He lives in Devon and grows food for his family.

Sophy Banks

In 2006 Sophy helped to set up the first “Heart and Soul” group of the newly forming Transition Town Totnes (link is external) project, the first experiment in a movement which many thousands of communities globally have tried in some from. Since then she has trained people around the world in the model and process of the Transition movement, which is unusual in combining outer change with deep reflection and insights from many inner traditions. Sophy has backgrounds in science, psychotherapy and family constellations, as well as playing a lot of football with other women in East London.



Stephan Harding

Coordinator and Senior Lecturer - Holistic Science / Estate Ecologist.

Stephan oversees the MSc in Holistic Science, teaching on the core models and as part of several of the short courses at the College. Stephan was born in Venezuela in 1953, and came to England at the age of six with his father and housekeeper, with whom he spoke Spanish (his mother tongue).  Since childhood Stephan has had a deep fascination with the natural world, and his scientific cast of mind lead him to do a degree in Zoology at the University of Durham and then a doctorate on the behavioural ecology of the muntjac deer at Oxford University. After completing his first degree he returned to Venezuela where he was a field assistant for the Smithsonian Institute, studying mammalian diversity in the rainforest and in the lowland plains. After Oxford Stephan was appointed Visiting Professor in Wildlife Management at the National University in Costa Rica, where he lived for two years before becoming a founder member of Schumacher College in 1990.  The College’s first teacher was James Lovelock, with whom Stephan has maintained a long-lasting friendship and scientific collaboration that lead to their joint appointment as founding chair holders of the Arne Naess Chair in Global Justice and the Environment at the University of Oslo.  At Schumacher College Stephan has taught alongside many of the world’s leading ecological thinkers and activists, including Arne Naess, Fritjof Capra, Vandana Shiva, David Abram, James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis.

Stephan is author of Animate Earth: Science, Intuition and Gaia. Green Books, and editor of Grow Small, Think Beautiful. Floris Books.  He is also the writer and presenter of the documentary film Animate Earth, produced by Angel TV.

Professor Wen Tiejun

Executive Dean of the Institute of Advanced Studies of Sustainability of Renmin University of China, Beijing; the Institute of Rural Reconstruction of China, Southwest University, Chongqing; and the Institute of Rural Reconstruction of the Straits, Fujiang Agriculture and Forestry University, Fuzhou. He is a renowned expert on sustainability, agrarian issues, policy studies, macro-economics, south-south cooperation, and inclusive growth.  He has published many books and articles including ‘Ecological Civilisation, Indigeneous Culture and Rural Reconstruction in China (Monthly Review, February 2012).



Mr. Li Shouli

Shouli Li comes from Qingzhou City, Shandong Province. He graduated from the China Agricultural University in 1991. He also had held a number of positions such as the Dean of the International Institute of IChing, the Vice Director of I Ching and Architecture Committee, the first President of Qingzhou Buddhist Association, the Honorary President of Qingzhou Mencius Mother Academy. Mr. Li has been deeply nurtured by Chinese traditional culture since his early age, and he has immersed himself in studying Chinese traditional culture for more than thirty years. He has been reviving theauthentic orthodox of Chinese traditions; reconstructing pedagogy in studying the original meanings of Chinese classics; he supports the syncretism of metaphysics and physics, and he also pursues the Using ideology. He has profound attainments in various traditional cultural subjects such as the Zhouyi study, Confucianism, Buddhism, Daoism, numerology, geomancy, and the Qi Men.

Zhang Lanying

She is Executive Deputy Dean of the Institute of Rural Reconstruction of China, Southwest University, Chongqing; and Director of Liangshuming Rural Reconstruction Center, Beijing. She started her career in the field of social development work in the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction in 1992 and took the challenge of establishing ActionAid in China as the country director for ActionAid International in 2002, where she developed, managed and implemented projects, training/workshops and study programs in the area of sustainable agriculture, environmental education, health education and participatory development approach promotion.


Dr SIT Tsui, Margaret Jade

Associate Professor of the Institute of Rural Reconstruction of China, Southwest University, Chongqing, China. Her research areas include globalization, rural reconstruction, and cultural studies. She is board member of Asian Regional Exchange for New Alternatives (ARENA-UK)



Zheng Bing is from the indigenous people from Zhaizi Village, Shanxi Province. She is now the Chief Director of Puhan Farmer’s Association. In 1998, she left her job as a Chinese literature teacher in a rural school and turned to lead her villagers to regenerate their villagein a comprehensive way of development. The confidence and happiness of life is her highest value. She sees her work in the service of the village and to create profitable activities to self sustain the development of the association and village. Today, her service focuses on sustaining village life, which includes rural finance, collective buying and selling, children’s education, community elderlycare, traditional hand craft practice and growing the farmer association as a comprehensive farmer’s cooperative.


Liu Yingsheng

LiuYinsheng was born in 1942, Caijiagang Town, Chongqing. He was former a middle school teacher. After retiring 30 years ago, he returned to his home to establish the Bayu Agriculture Museum. He collected thousands of agriculture tools in Bayu area and wrote over 1000 short poems to accompany the exhibits. Through his community work, he has been mapping and painting the former life in the local area. His hope is to sustain the traditional life of the town and make the exhibits and poems as a contribution to living history.