PANDOTOPIA brings visionaries together from across Los Angeles County and beyond to reimagine religious property as campuses of service based learning for an integrated vision of community resilience.
Pandotopia is a place for radical commitment — to the Earth and its people.
It’s a location where the most diverse, creative, and committed people we know can work individually or together to reimagine our way of life, with the planet and each other in mind.
A Campus may be small or large, or a portion of a physical location. The controlling vision for such a place is what Pope Francis calls “integral ecology,” heeding both “the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” It’s what philosophical theologian John Cobb describes as “ecological civilization” and what Los Angeles County is aiming for in its sustainability plan, “OurCounty LA.”
Pandotopia is a professional development opportunity to imagine and model inventive new ways that religious property might be used to meet contemporary justice and sustainability needs in light of integral ecology. We are developing a project management toolkit to support the program, along with an assessment methodology. We hope to share and grow the model.
Results to date include two Pandotopia Blitz brainstorming events to imagine possibilities; a three-year prototype with the Maryknoll Sisters of Monrovia to model a residential research park for integral ecology; an ongoing prototype of an integral ecology service hub with the Sisters of Social Service of Encino, and the beginnings of a network for professional development in related work.
Read the Background and learn more about Pandotopia events below.
Pandotopia Blitz Events
July 17-18, 2018
On July 17 and 18, 2018, seven congregations of women religious from across the country met at the Maryknoll Sisters’s compound in Monrovia to rethink the connection between mission, resources, and properties in light of a vision of integral ecology.
Legendary designer John Bielenberg, author of Think Wrong, the book, led the two-day event. Philosophical theologian John B. Cobb, Jr., member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and co-editor of the first volume of responses to appear on Laudato Si’, keynoted.
Blitz workshops focused on the potential impact of Pando thinking on communities of religious women and especially on the local communities of those attending. The opportunity comes at a time when religious organizations are re-imagining how their resources can be connected in service to the future of their mission, charism, and legacy.
December 1, 2017
On December 1, 2017, visionaries from across Los Angeles County and beyond gathered together for a day-long Blitz at the seven-acre Maryknoll compound in Monrovia to brainstorm how, collectively, we might Pando the place to express what the Sisters call, “One Earth Community.”
The controlling idea was to reimagine the campus to better meet social justice and sustainability needs across the southland and model what a community of the future in balance with the Earth and its people might look like.
The ideas conceived at that time were green-lighted for prototype implementation at the sisters’ Monrovia campus.
Background on Pandotopia
Congregations of women religious offer an extraordinarily rich and counter-cultural heritage serving the common good. At this time, in a world filled with noise, pollution, and injustice at every level, women religious are being called, louder than ever, to be a prophetic voice in reimaging how the world can take a different path than the one it is on now. They can do this because of their understanding of the inter-connectedness of all elements in the universe and the richness of their charisms.
The founders of and collaborators with Pando also share a vision for an alternative outcome for the future, one that is distinctly aligned in its concept with the vision for an integrated, unified, and inclusive “civilization” – a vision shared by many communities of women religious.
Pando was conceived and organized around the idea that there is an alternative to modern industrial life, and that in order to avoid catastrophic conditions we must seize an alternative way of thinking and living. That “alternative” is an ecological worldview.
For many years, pockets of activity have organized to reduce climate change, save endangered species, curb poverty, cap the influence of financial markets, bring about democratic accountability, reduce militarism, and so on.
What is missing is a new paradigm that integrates these various concerns and activities and sets them in the context of a broader vision.
Such was the work of philosophers up until the 20th century. But today, many have given up the task of thinking holistically about the world, or proposing anything like new foundations for a civilization that take us in a different direction; and few attempt to integrate thought with action.
Pandotopia Blitz is an ongoing series of brainstorming events for representatives from a variety of congregations of women religious and Pando to begin re-thinking together about a new paradigm – one with integral ecology at its heart – and what this might mean for mission, charism, and legacy at local levels.
Pando at Maryknoll
Prototype to incarnate the vision of Pope Francis’s “integral ecology” at the Maryknoll Monrovia campus.