The Role of the Individual

Border Crisis, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 16x12
Abstract 25, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 24x20

Abstract 25, oil on canvas, 24×20


HOW DOES ONE ACT ethically in an era of great global change and upheaval? Can individuals impact climate change, immigration, or smartphones and social media, and if so, does it matter?

The three issues are intertwined. Climate change is already impacting patterns of immigration. Smartphones and the Internet connect people around the world as never before, but at great cost in energy and resources. How does it all fit together, and what should we do?

A special, three-part series of Community Conversations on “Climate Change and the Individual,” “The Current Face of Immigration,” and “The Subtext of Our Texts: Smartphones and Social Media,” will be held Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. at Laurel Park, Northampton, Massachusetts, beginning July 10. Admission is free (donations welcome).

Come be part of the conversation.

Climate Change and the Individual

July 10

Abstract 25, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 24x20

Abstract 25, oil on canvas, 24×20

IDEAS about the home, the yard, and the highway that impact climate change.

Russell Steven Powell is the author of Living Without Lawn, a book that chronicles his transition from lawn culture to a machine-free yard. Begun as a way to reduce his use of fossil fuels, the project required a shift in aesthetics to which Powell, a visual artist, brings his painter’s eye.

Jeff McCollough is interested in the influence that bicycling and walking have on economic development, environmental quality, and our ability to lead an active lifestyle. He is a senior transportation planner at the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission in Springfield, Massachusetts, where he has worked for 25 years.

Jonathan A. Wright co-owns Wright Builders, Inc., in Northampton, Massachusetts, which has been an active regional leader in sustainable design and construction since 1976. The firm recently completed two Living Building Challenge projects, achieving the highest standard of renewable and resilient design and construction. His book, Spirit of the Makers, will be published by Ecotone Press in 2019.

Moderator Sara Draper is the R.W. Kern Center Director of Educational Program and Outreach at Hampshire College.

The Current Face of Immigration

July 24

Border, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 16x12

Border, oil on canvas, 16×12

WHERE ARE TODAY’S immigrants coming from, what are they facing, and how should the community respond? A look at some key challenges facing today’s immigrants — and their hosts.

Javier Luengo-Garrido, coordinator, Immigrant Protection Project,

American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts

Margaret Sawyer, lead organizer, Pioneer Valley Workers Center

Maxine Stein, president and CEO of Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts

Moderator: Kathryn Buckley-Brawner, executive director, Catholic Charities of Springfield

The Subtext of Our Texts:

Smartphones and Social Media

August 7

AN INTERGENERATIONAL DISCUSSION of the benefits and costs of the revolutions in communications technology and social media that increasingly dominate our lives.

Abstract 26, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 14x11

Abstract 26, oil on canvas, 14×11

Elizabeth MacDuffie, editor, Meat for Tea

Michael Tillyer, artist, educator, founding director, Anchor House of Artists

And others

Moderator: visual artist and writer Russell Steven Powell


COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS is part of a full summer of events at Laurel Park that also includes theater and music. For a complete schedule, visit Laurel Park Arts.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *