Social Ecology presents a broad-ranging critique of current anti-ecological trends while offering concepts, skills and tools to develop an alternative social vision for an ecologically sustainable society. The ISE played a central role in the grassroots anti-nuclear power movement of the 1970s – ‘80s and the early years of the Green politics movement in the United States. We have engaged in pioneering work in the fields of alternative technology, sustainable agriculture, and ecologically oriented community design. Over the past 35 years, the Institute has sponsored conferences and colloquia exploring economic globalization, biotechnology, environmental activism, green cities, ecofeminism, environmental education, and ecological approaches to community development.
The ISE has also provided specific technical and organizational assistance for the development of community supported agriculture, low-income housing cooperatives, and community currency projects, with constituents as diverse as Puerto Rican urban homesteaders, Vermont farmers, environmental justice activists in New England, and community organizers in New York City.
Over the past decade, our primary activist focus has been around opposition to genetic engineering of food and trees, exposing the broader myths of biotechnology, involvement in the growing movement for climate justice, and bringing a community-centered, grassroots approach, rooted in the practice of New England’s traditional town meetings, to a variety of social and ecological issues. The ISE’s approach to grassroots organizing is rooted in the principles of decentralism, community control, and face-to-face, direct democracy that have broadly inspired many of today’s movements for global justice.