These discussion groups not only raise awareness about current affairs, but also, in Hudspeths estimation, rebuild the sense of community that has deteriorated so significantly in American culture.
Hudspeth stressed that community vitality, or social capital, as he also termed the concept, is essential to the success of global environmental sustainability. We have to work on social capital, Hudspeth exclaimed, or [the goals of the environmental movement] arent going to work.
He noted that outside the United States, other countries are working to develop strong communities with a rich understanding of how personal and community decisions impact global environmental issues. For example, the New Zealand Ministry of Education has developed sweeping K-12 curricula focused on sustainability issues.
The development of social capital, is exactly what the Vermont Earth Institute attempted to foment with this gathering of local activists who beforehand, may have had little or no contact with other regional groups.
The Vermont Earth Institute has worked to raise environmental consciousness through local discussion groups since 1995. More information on VEIs discussion groups can be found on their website,