Speaker on new nonprofit

Community project director speaks of care for our planet

April 5, 2019
Megan Beatty '20

David Radcliffe’s April 3 talk in the Roy Room. He became animated and climbed up on a chair, below; and brought informational posters that were around the room (bottom photo). Photos by Danielle Joubert ’20

David Radcliffe, director of the New Community Project, led a discussion at Saint Michael’s College Wednesday evening, April 3, in the Roy Event Center of the Dion Family Student Center centered on environmental concerns and how we can take better care of our planet.

The New Community Project is relatively new nonprofit organization, founded in 2015 and located in Starksboro, Vermont. The project is “committed to the creation of sustainable systems that care for the earth, empower people most marginalized and impoverished, educate and inspire, and built the foundation for a nonviolent lifestyle.”

David RadcliffeGuyOnChair explained that the project focuses on three main things: care for the planet, peace through justice, and experiential learning. Through service trips and volunteer work, the New Community Project strives “to put people in situations where they have an encounter with nature that pushes them forward,” inspiring them to listen to the world, because, according to Radcliffe, “If you stop and truly listen to the world, you’re going to have to do something.”

The work of the New Community Project strives to create safe and supportive communities for people coming from difficult life circumstances, such as refugees or those struggling with poverty and food insecurity, working as “an experimental and public educations for just and sustainable living practices,” seeking the answer the question of how to live life in ways that do not destroy the earth or cause injustice to others, Radcliffe said.

During the event, Radcliffe shared pictures and stories from several different trips the organization has led, including to the Chaco ruins in New Mexico, to Denali National Park in Alaska, and even as far as the Ecuadorian Amazon, where native peoples have lost 99 percent of their traditional hunting land because oil was found there. Radcliffe said that the Project’s work is inspired by Native People’s philosophies, such as reciprocity rather than exploitation of the land, as well as knowledge and experience of the land. “That’s what got me into this work,” he said.Poster “I think, just the idea that it’s not fair what we’re doing to the natural world.”

One student attending the event said she thought Saint Michael’s students were privileged to be able to hear Radcliffe speak and share ideas about how to improve our relationships with the natural world and with each other. To learn more about the New Community Project or to get involved in their work, one can visit their website at www.newcommunityproject.org.

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