About The Living Earth Movement
We are a collection of leaders in the fields of theology, business, science, activism and academia who are passionate about combating climate change and preserving life as we know it on this planet.
Goals of the Living Earth Movement
What can all of us do to inspire the United States, China, and other nations to reduce conflicts and work together to address the ecological crisis urgently and dramatically?
What can we do to lay the foundations for ecological civilization? For this movement to succeed, it must be organic and locally led. So join us in creating a grassroots network of activists striving to achieve the following:
- To inspire and strongly urge the US and China to work together on climate change so other countries around the world will join in to save our planet.
- To organize citizens of the United States, China, and other nations to encourage and inspire their governments, military, businesses, and educational institutions to shift course toward collaboration and away from current policies of confrontation and dangerous animosity.
- To create an organic grassroots movement of citizen activists advocating for urgent and dramatic action to address the ecological crisis.
- To inspire participation in public actions that protest the endangerment of our ecosystems and promote deep love and care for the whole natural world.
- To counter the false and hostile propaganda about countries determined to be free of United States control.
- To promote a new ethos of global cooperation, peacemaking, and joint solutions to the planetary crisis.
- To inspire a movement to teach children (and people of all ages) to love our common home, the Earth, and spread the word that the well-being of the Earth’s ecosphere is as valuable as the well-being of humans.
- To encourage widespread conviction that a just, peaceful, creative, and sustainable society is possible.
- To inspire hope and, therefore, action.
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
John B. Cobb, Jr. was born in Japan in 1925 of Methodist missionary parents, and served in the U.S. army from 1943 to 1946 as a Japanese language officer. He entered the University of Chicago in January of 1947 studied philosophy and philosophical theology. Dr. Cobb has taught at Emory University and Claremont School of Theology and Graduate School. His understanding of the world as made up of interconnected events led him to explore a variety of topics from his “process” perspective, with an emphasis on interconnectivity. He wrote a number of books in partnership with scholars in various fields – especially biology, economics, and the New Testament – and has written, edited, or co-authored more than fifty books.
His leadership in process thought was solidified in 1973, when, with David Griffin, he organized the Center for Process Studies. It published a journal and held conferences in many fields. It worked internationally, and by far its greatest success was in China. Under the leadership of Zhihe Wang, with Cobb’s support, the China Project became the Institute for the Postmodern Development of China. It sponsored hundreds of lectures in China, and thirty-five Chinese universities established related centers.
The Chinese government declared its goal to be an “ecological civilization”. The IPDC held, in Claremont, the first conference on this topic and followed with annual events attracting from fifty to a hundred participants from China. During this time Cobb was also annually visiting China, and he became well known there. He was welcomed by Chinese leaders including the Vice President.
DIRECTOR AND SECRETARY
Rev. Bonnie Tarwater is a Unitarian Universalist minister and founder of
Currently, she is working with John. Cobb on a project using his newest book, Confessions of a Disciple of Jesus as a study guide for Earth Crisis Support Groups. Bonnie is honored to have studied and travelled with Dr. Cobb in China and Korea and now serves with him on the Living Earth Movement Board. Naming her biodynamic farm, The John Cobb Eco Farm, Bonnie and her husband Dr. Walt Rutherford, have created a safe harbor for their grandchildren, neighbors and church to learn to grow food in preparation for global crisis. Five acres, with apple trees, a wild wooded area, a rose and vegetable garden in Dallas Oregon, just outside of Salem, the capitol of Oregon. It is a sanctuary to pray, love, and be loved by the natural world. Offering worship with the farm animals in the barn every Sunday, counselling and retreat stays at The Secret Garden Retreat Center. Everyone is invited to the interfaith Secret Prayer Garden with twelve stations on twelve trees, Inviting prayers and meditations for the Earth. You are invited to come and enjoy the community art studio in the barn, sing a longs, bonfires, Dream Groups, Lectio Divina (bible study), a Centering Prayer Group, classes, community meals and more. Counselling, worship and programs are offered in person and on Zoom.
DIRECTOR AND TREASURER
Ignacio Castuera was born in Mexico and moved to the United States in 1960. He attended Compton College and California State University Long Beach where he received a Bachelor of Sciences in Social Sciences. Castuera earned a Doctor of Religion degree from Claremont School of Theology in 1970. Ignacio was ordained into the United Methodist Church and served churches in Hawaii and California. He was the first Mexican-American District Superintendent in the Los Angeles District. For 25 years Castuera taught contemporary theology in the Course of Studies held every summer at Perkins School of Theology. For six years Dr. Castuera was the National Chaplain for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. During that time he lectured frequently on the subject of women’s rights. Since 1970, thanks to his relationship with Dr. John B Cobb Jr., he has been involved in activities directed at creating concern for climate issues. After his retirement in 2002 he continued his activism in defense of the Earth through various organizations and recently through his participation in the Cobb Institute in Claremont, CA.
Charles has a Master’s in Community Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University, and has received numerous Special Achievement Awards for his service as Director of Disaster Field Offices for FEMA (formerly HUD). Charles has received the Highest Award for Achievement from the Dale Carnegie program, and received the highest cash award paid a HUD employee for improvements to the property management information system that saved an estimated 300 million dollars. While running two non-profits he founded, CENTER SPACE and the University for Successful Living, Charles turned down the HUD Community Builder Fellowship, worth $250,000 and study at the JFK School of Government at Harvard, so he could continue to focus on his impactful non-profit work.
John Perkins is an internationally-renowned economist, author and activist. As Chief Economist at a major consulting firm, John was advisor to World Bank, UN, Fortune 500 corporations, U.S. and other governments. His ten books, including Confessions of an Economic Hit Man spent over 70 weeks on New York Times bestseller list, are published in 35 languages, and sold more than 2 million copies. He has lectured at more than 50 universities; been featured on ABC, NBC, CNN, Time, New York Times, Elle, Der Spiegel, and others. He is a founder of the nonprofits Dream Change and The Pachamama Alliance.
Jeff Wells is the lead pastor of The Church of the Village, a progressive, radically inclusive, and anti-racist community in the West Village of Manhattan. He has been a life-long passionate advocate for social and economic justice and for undermining all forms of oppression. He is a committed evangelist for process theology and ecological civilization.
Audrey Kitagawa is the President/Founder of the International Academy for Multicultural Cooperation, President of the Light of Awareness Spiritual Family, Chair of the Anti-Racism Initiative and Co-Chair of the Gender Equality working Group of the G20 Interfaith Forum, an Ambassador for Religions for Peace International, and Co-Facilitator of the URI-UN Cooperation Circle.
Richard Livingston is Executive Director at the Cobb Institute. He received his PhD in 2015 from Claremont Graduate University, where he specialized in Philosophy of Religion and Theology. He taught as an adjunct instructor in philosophy and religious studies at four colleges in Southern California from 2011-2019. He has worked in IT since the early 1990s, and holds a Master’s Degree in Theology from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor’s Degree in Near Eastern Studies from Brigham Young University.
David Korten is an author, lecturer, engaged citizen, student of psychology and behavioral systems, a prominent critic of corporate globalization, and an advocate of Ecological Civilization. He is founder/president of the Living Economies Forum, an active member of the Club of Rome, a member of the International Advisory Council of the International Academy for Multicultural Cooperation, and an Ambassador of the Wellbeing Economy Alliance. Co-founder of YES! Magazine, he is the author of numerous influential books, including the international bestselling When Corporations Rule the World and The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community, and most recently, Change the Story; Change the Future: A Living Economy for a Living Earth. He holds earned MBA and PhD degrees from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, served on the facilities of the Harvard Business School and Harvard School of Public Health, and worked for thirty years in international development in Africa, Asia, and Latin America
Rick Smyre is an internationally recognized futurist specializing in the area of building “capacities for transformation” in local communities. A graduate of Davidson College and NC State University, he is co-founder and President of the Center for Communities of the Future (COTF), an international network of colleagues and organizations. He is co-author of the book, Preparing for a World That Doesn’t Exist – Yet that was published in 2016. Mr. Smyre has provided over 400 seminars, keynotes and retreats over the last three decades to introduce “transformational” ideas such as the Second Enlightenment, Master Capacity Builder, Creative Molecular Economy, Transformational Learning and Mobile Collaborative Governance.
Ronald Hines is a Cobb Institute board member and coordinator of a weekly gathering of John Cobb and Friends. He is a United Methodist ordained elder in the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference. He served as pastor at Seattle First Church (associate), Prosser, Tacoma Asbury, Puyallup First, and Yakima Wesley. He was Superintendent of Seven Rivers District from 2001 through 2009. Under supervision of United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, he served as pastor at Knox UMC, Manila, and the ecumenical University Church on the campus of Philippine Christian University and Union Theological Seminary, where he served on the faculty from 1986-94. He earned an M.Div. from United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio, in 1970 and a Ph.D. in Personality and Religion, focus on education, from School of Theology at Claremont, California, 1976.
The Reverend Kathleen Reeves is a hospice Chaplain and interfaith minister. She is a writer, artist and published poet. She holds a Master of Divinity in interfaith theology. She has been active in interfaith peace, and is a member of the Inland Valley Interfaith Working Group for Middle East Peace. She is the President of the Upland Interfaith Council, and has held leadership positions in Unitarian Universalists congregations. Her community interfaith ministry led her to volunteer with Syrian refugees as they settled into their new country. Her deep connection with one special family is captured in her series of stories she wrote for the Huffington Post. She is a student of Japanese tea ceremony through the international Chado Urasenke Tankokai association of the Urasenke school in Kyoto, Japan. Kathleen has also trained in Restorative Practice, and she follows an earth-based religion.
The LEM as an organization that encourages many different kinds of projects.
Currently, John Cobb is writing Confessions of a Disciple of Jesus and with Bonnie Tarwater they are creating a gift for people of faith to study and support one another in small support groups around the world called Earth Crisis Support Groups. This course/study group will be translated into many languages and hopes to be ready in early 2023. These small groups are modeled after the early house churches, base communities, Twelve Step Programs and consciousness raising support groups. “…..to anyone considering reading my “confessions”” John writes, “It is a warning that I have not given consideration to your feelings. Having these feelings is painful to me. If you understand me at all, reading will at times be painful to you. Bonnie Tarwater has felt that there are people who need this and will benefit from it. She talked about basing a course on it. I was skeptical, and in time she decided that would not work. To this day, most people protect themselves from the full truth of the climate crisis by thinking mostly about other things. This reduces the needed pressure on leaders. We think more people will be able to keep a focus on the most important questions facing us if they become members of support communities. We think that members of a support community could also read my manuscript and respond toughmindedly to it in a way that few isolated individuals can. People with addictions have long found that they can help each other. We might think of inability to attend to the reality of our situation as comparable. Even if this manuscript is ignored and forgotten, I would celebrate increased mutual support during the worsening of the context in which we live. If you are interested, let Bonnie know.” Bonnie’s contact information and a draft of Confessions can be found on Church for Our Common Home website, www.churchforourcomonhome.com.