VLS Presents ‘New Economy Law and Policy Forum: A Speaker Series on Building a Sustainable, Just and Democratic Future’

SOUTH ROYALTON, Vt., Sept. 28, 2017––The New Economy Law Center at Vermont Law School will launch a “New Economy Law and Policy Forum: A Speaker Series on Building a Sustainable, Just and Democratic Future” at 5:15 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5, in Chase Community Center at VLS. The forum, comprised of four sessions scheduled through October and November, is designed for members of the public who seek long-term change to the current political economy and covers topics ranging from campaign finance reform to accelerating localization movements. Forum sessions, open to the public and press, will be streamed live at vermontlaw.edu/live.

“People are demanding change—a change to our politics, a change to our economy, and a change to our environment,” said forum producer Professor Melissa Scanlan, director and co-founder of the New Economy Law Center. “The New Economy Law and Policy Forum will encourage participants to do more than simply resist the current system, which is characterized by large environmental costs, a fixation on GDP growth as our measure of success, and runaway consumerism. Participants will be encouraged to make meaningful change—work to energize their local economy, share wealth more equitably, or run for office. The forum is a unique opportunity for anyone to become involved in the new economy movement and learn best practices to realize their goals.”

The 2017 New Economy Law and Policy Forum includes:

Session One: “The New Economy and the Quietly Emerging Next System
5:15 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5, Chase Community Center, VLS
What is the new economy? Just beneath the surface of media reporting a new economy is quietly emerging. It includes cooperatives, public banks, new clean energy strategies, successful campaigns to turn polluting utilities into ecologically sustainable municipal systems, along with an explosion of related developments at different levels of scale.
Session One will feature Gar Alperovitz, former Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland, co-chair of The Next System Project, and co-founder of The Democracy Collaborative, an organization devoted to developing community wealth-building approaches to local and national democratic reconstruction. Gus Speth, co-founder of the New Economy Law Center, will moderate.

Session Two: “Localize It: What Resilience Looks Like
8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, Chase Community Center, VLS
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22, Chase Community Center, VLS
BALE (Building A Local Economy) will lead this two-day, solutions-focused gathering for leaders and community members engaged in accelerating a localizing movement in our region. BALE is working on systemic renewal in an age of climate crisis, economic injustice, and frayed democratic systems. This convening will forge new relationships and pathways toward improved localization of our economy, culture, democratic institutions, systems of energy, health and education, movements for justice, and other areas of intersection. Featured guests include Frances Moore Lappé of Small Planet Institute and Jonathan Rosenthal of New Economy Coalition.

Session Three: “Energize Democracy: How to Run for Office
9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, Chase Community Center, VLS
Whether you are thinking of the U.S. Senate or a local school board, come learn the basics of running for elected office: Motivation, Message, Money, and Mechanics. This nonpartisan workshop will feature former Vermont Gov. Madeleine Kunin; Kathleen Falk, who served with the United States Department of Health and Human Services under the Obama administration; Randy Brock, former state auditor for Vermont; and other leaders in public service.

Session Four: “Transform Politics: Reform Campaign Finance
5:15 p.m. Monday, Nov. 20, Chase Community Center, VLS
Foreign money and corporate money in American politics have long threatened American democracy, but in recent years, the threat has become overwhelming. Citizens United, the Supreme Court case that redefined corruption, has had a massive impact on our politics in just seven years. Is Donald Trump taking foreign money in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution? Join us for a discussion with scholar and political activist Zephyr Teachout and moderator Melissa Scanlan of the New Economy Law Center.

For more information about the forum, including registration, visit go.vermontlaw.edu/new-economy-forum.

The New Economy Law Center at Vermont Law School explores the role of law and policy change in transitioning to a new economy. The center, the first virtual community of its kind, includes fellows who work across disciplines, states, and countries. Center co-founders Melissa Scanlan and Gus Speth collaborate with law professors, economists, writers, entrepreneurs, religious leaders, and activists. Together they engage students and scholars around the world with symposia and investigations focused on law and policy for a new economy, prioritizing ecological integrity, vibrant democracy, and social justice. For more information about the New Economy Law Center, visit vermontlaw.edu/nelc.


Vermont Law School, a private, independent institution, is home to the nation’s largest and deepest environmental law program. VLS offers a Juris Doctor curriculum that emphasizes public service; three Master’s Degrees—Master of Environmental Law and Policy, Master of Energy Regulation and Law, and Master of Food and Agriculture Law and Policy; and four post-JD degrees —LLM in American Legal Studies (for foreign-trained lawyers), LLM in Energy Law, LLM in Environmental Law, and LLM in Food and Agriculture Law. The school features innovative experiential programs and is home to the Environmental Law Center, South Royalton Legal Clinic, Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic, Energy Clinic, Food and Agriculture Clinic, and Center for Applied Human Rights. For more information, visit vermontlaw.edu, find us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.