Where We Go From Here Conference

Building the Collaborative Commons

October 23, 2014 – October 26, 2014
Rhinebeck, NY
Vandana Shiva, Jeremy Rifkin, Van Jones, David Bollier... See More
SM14-5803-953Vandana Shiva, Jeremy Rifkin, Van Jones, David Bollier, Elizabeth Lesser, David W. Orr, Bob Berkebile, Robert "Skip" Backus,

In many ways the Commons are the foundation of our society. It represents the intersection of our social, environmental, and economic structures—all that we share and create together, from water to education. The stewardship of this inheritance has continually driven the sustainability movement. Now is the time for us to step into creating a new cultural fabric.

In the 2014 OCSL Conference: Where We Go From Here, we explore how to move forward in our understanding of the Commons. How do we take back and renew this heritage? What examples already exist? How does all that we have learned about building a resilient, regenerative society apply today?

This event brings together those at the forefront of whole-systems thinking, including leading economists, designers, environmentalists, architects, community leaders, and activists, to help inspire and guide our way forward.

Through keynote talks, panel conversations, interactive sessions, and time spent together in shared purpose and community, we build an understanding of next steps.

Whether you are a concerned citizen, business leader, educator, student, architect, builder, or politician, this gathering will inform and motivate you to take action wherever you are.

This conference starts Thursday at 8:00 p.m. and ends Sunday at noon. Please check back for additional workshop hours. Scholarships are available; see Teachers are subject to change.


4:00 p.m.–6:30 p.m.Check In (Rooms available after 5:00 p.m.)
8:00 p.m.–10:00 p.m.Workshop
9:00 a.m.–NoonWorkshop
2:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m.Workshop
9:00 a.m.–NoonWorkshop
2:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m.Workshop
9:00 a.m.–NoonWorkshop
Noon–1:00 p.m.Check Out

The Children's Program is generally available during standard workshop hours only. Contact Omega registration at 800.944.1001 for details.

The above schedule is subject to change at the discretion of the faculty


Vandana Shiva, PhD, is a world-renowned environmental leader, eco-feminist, author, and thinker. Director of the Research Foundation on Science, Technology, and Ecology, she isa leader in the International Forum on Globalization, along with Ralph Nader and Jeremy Rifkin. Recipient of many awards, she also has served as an adviser to governments and NGOs.

Jeremy Rifkin

Jeremy Rifkin, president of the Foundation on Economic Trends, is an authority on economic sustainability. His books include The Third Industrial Revolution and The Empathic Civilization.

Van Jones

Van Jones, a former advisor to President Obama and best-selling author of the definitive book on green jobs, The Green Collar Economy, is cohost of Crossfire on CNN and an award-winning pioneer in human rights and the clean energy economy. In 2009, Time magazine called him “one of the 100 most influential people in the world.”

David Bollier is an influential American activist, writer, and policy strategist who focuses on democratic culture, promoting citizen action and reclaiming the Commons. He is cofounder of the Commons Strategies Group and the author of Think Like a CommonerGreen Governance, and The Wealth of the Commons, among other books.

Elizabeth Lesser is cofounder of the Omega Institute and senior advisor on Omega’s board of directors. Author of The Seeker’s Guide and the New York Times best seller, Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow, she is a frequent host on the Oprah Radio channel on Sirius/XM. In 2002, she initiated the Women & Power conference series and is cofounder of the Omega Women's Leadership Center.

David W. Orr

David W. Orr is a professor, founder of the Oberlin Project, and author of Ecological Literacy.

Bob  Berkebile

Bob Berkebile is an influential sustainable design architect and community planner, a founding principal of BNIM Architects, and a board member of the U.S. Green Building Council, the Nature Conservancy, and the Center for Global Community.

Robert "Skip" Backus

Robert "Skip" Backus, is chief executive officer of Omega and the visionary behind the Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL), the first green building in America to receive both LEED® Platinum and Living Building Challenge™ certification. For more than 20 years, he has played a leadership role at Omega as operations director and campus manager, maintaining all of Omega’s buildings. In this capacity, he helped Omega lay the foundation for its environmental initiatives. He frequently speaks about sustainability at a variety of venues.