Pico Iyer Joins Paul Relis in Santa Barbara to Discuss Climate Change and the Environmental Movement

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Renowned author Pico Iyer takes the stage with environmental visionary Paul Relis in a benefit for the 45th anniversary of the Community Environmental Council in Santa Barbara. The two notable thinkers will discuss excerpts from Relis' new book, Out of the Wasteland – Stories from the Environmental Frontier, recounting the environmental movement from Earth Day's inception to the current global appeal around climate change.

Santa Barbara Permaculture Network & the Community Environmental Council present A Conversation with Paul Relis & Pico Iyer – A Benefit for the Community Environmental Council at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara on Monday, October 12 at 6:30 p.m.

Paul Relis, founding executive director of the Community Environmental Council (CEC) in Santa Barbara, and Pico Iyer, internationally acclaimed author & journalist with ten best selling books, will join together on stage to explore the past, present and future of Santa Barbara’s environmental movement, including its impact on statewide and national efforts. The conversation will stem from Paul Relis’s recently published book, Out of the Wasteland – Stories from the Environmental Frontier, which also features a foreword by Iyer. A portion of the event’s proceeds will go to benefit the Community Environmental Council as they celebrate 45 years of environmental stewardship in California's Central Coast.

These two distinguished creative thinkers will explore multiple themes that appear in the book, such as how each individual action plays a role in the broader scope of the environmental movement:

“There are green shoots appearing all over the planet even as our dependence on fossil fuels remains seemingly so intractable," states Relis in Out of the Wasteland. "These green shoots are beginning to weave a tapestry, a pattern language in the image of a post-oil age. It’s faint now, but the work underway is incessant, and the will and means to do more will only build as the urgency of our condition becomes undeniable.”

Iyer, whose agenda in October includes onstage discussions with Paul Theroux, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and the philanthropist-businessman Richard Blum, states that he has the most "longtime investment" in his discussion with Relis.

“It’s not often that a lifelong friend becomes a visionary hero who helps to make the world a better place,” stated Iyer, who was in junior high when he first met Relis, then attending UC Santa Barbara.

As an undergraduate student at UCSB, Relis found himself at the epicenter of the environmental movement's birth in 1969 when 3 million gallons of oil spewed into a 35 mile stretch off the Santa Barbara coast (1). The event shaped the course of his life work, and his book details the shifts and progress that have occurred in the environmental movement from the inception of Earth Day to the current global rally around climate change.

"It’s no coincidence, surely, that everyone from Pope Francis to the Dalai Lama has singled out climate change and our work with the planet around us as perhaps our globe’s most urgent priority right now, the non-negotiable responsibility that cuts across all border and that none of us can afford to ignore," Iyer said. "And there’s no one I’d trust more with every issue from oil spills to waste disposal, from pollution to environmental policy than Paul. For four decades now, he’s introduced us to ideas that sounded impossible until—almost overnight—they turned into daily, and global, realities."

Tickets for the event range from $10 - $30 and can be purchased at http://www.lobero.com/events/cec-pico-iyerpaul-relis. Those interested in contributing directly to the Community Environmental Council can also visit http://www.cecsb.org/donate.

About Pico Iyer
Pico Iyer is an award-winning journalist and novelist who has written several best selling books. His most recent is The Man Within My Head. While he is a sometime Santa Barbara resident, Pico has lived mostly in Japan with his wife Hiroko Takeuchi for more than two decades. A frequent traveler, he has a unique perspective on global culture and the environment. Follow his sojourns at PicoIyerJourneys.com.

About Paul Relis
Paul Relis is the founding executive director of the Community Environmental Council and played a critical role in CEC’s early efforts in recycling, urban gardens, and green buildings. He went on to work for the California Environmental Protection Agency where he helped develop the state’s robust recycling infrastructure. He is currently working in the private sector on a project that will convert municipal organic waste into renewable natural gas. Learn more at PaulRelis.com

About Community Environmental Council
Since 1969, CEC has remained at the forefront of the environmental movement, leading the Santa Barbara region – and at times California and the nation – in creative solutions to some of the toughest environmental problems. Today CEC continues to pioneer real life solutions in areas with the biggest impact on climate change – most notably energy, transportation and food systems.

For more information on CEC:

  • Find CEC on the web at cecsb.org
  • Like CEC on Facebook at facebook.com/cecsb
  • Follow CEC on Twitter @CECSB and on Instagram @CEC_SB
  • Call CEC at 805-963-0583

1. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-santa-barbara-oil-spill-1969-20150520-htmlstory.html

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Nicole Wald

Sigrid Wright
Community Environmental Council (CEC)
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