By Judy Moores

On Sunday, September 27, Cool Davis will present workshop “Living Well Today” featuring two speakers: William Powers and Sue Barton. William Powers, national best-selling author of New Slow City: Living Simply in the World’s Fastest City, will give the keynote talk and Sue Barton, a resident of Parkview Place in Davis, will add a Davis perspective when she shares the local challenges and joys of simplifying life.

The workshop, which will include slides, breakout groups, and refreshments, is scheduled for 3 – 5:30 p.m. and will be hosted by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis, 27074 Patwin Road, Davis, CA.

Donations help a community-based school

Flor de Montana symbolDonations of any level are welcome. Those who donate $15 or more (on Eventbrite or at the door) will be given a free autographed copy of New Slow City at the workshop. Proceeds (minus expenses) from the workshop will be donated to the Samaipata, Bolivia, community-based school: “Flor de Montaña” to help with transportation and scholarships for children who would otherwise not be able to attend the school. The school focuses its education (K-12) around Mother Earth and furthering the principles of “vivir bien.”

Teaching the Rights of Mother Earth

In 2010, Bolivia passed laws protecting the rights of Mother Earth and formalizing government policies on “vivir bien,” the indigenous concept of “living well.” With the laws in place, a number of parents and interested others in the town of Samiapata came together to imagine a new kind of school that would incorporate the ideas embodied in vivir bien. They drew on ideas from Waldorf schools, a program called Pedagogy 3000, and the new school curriculum reforms instituted by the government. They wanted their school to be a place where all would learn to love, care for, value, and respect each other and nature.

Flor de Montana, Bolivia gameBy 2013, the parents, their children, and others began to build “Flor de Montaña.” They renovated an old building and its grounds to make their dream a reality. With few resources, they did most of the work themselves using recycled materials such as mattresses, cloth, and wood to furnish the classrooms. They painted the school inside and outside with beautiful murals. Working with educators, they developed a curriculum that honored nature and indigenous cultures and embodied a philosophy of both old and young, growing and learning together.

A Dream come true – inspiration from nature

Now that the school had been going for about two years, it is a dream come true – a joyful, festive place with small classes. With nature and Earth for inspiration, the teachers teach a curriculum including traditional topics – math, reading, etc., that incorporate and are enriched by gardening, caring for animals, making pottery, practicing traditional arts, dancing, and learning to use modern technology, too.

Those interested in attending the workshop “Living Well Today” may register here at Mr. Power’s visit is co-sponsored by Cool Davis, the Green Sanctuary Committee of the UU Church of Davis, Church and Society Ministry of Davis Community Church, Lutheran Church of the Incarnation, and the Yolo Interfaith Alliance for Climate Justice. The event is open to the public. For more information, contact