Ecomodernism 2018: Achieving Disagreement

September 30 - October 2, 2018


Every year, The Breakthrough Institute hosts a dialogue for the Washington policy community. The event brings together diverse voices, enabling productive conversations on how to build a better future.

May 17, 2018 |

Ecomodernism 2018: Achieving Disagreement will take place on Sunday, September 30 through Tuesday, October 2, 2018.

At a moment of deep social, cultural, and political discord, is it possible that we might relearn the art of the possible? Can we stay true to our values, acknowledge our differences, and still find ways to create better futures for people and the environment?

Public opinion is more divided today than it has been for decades. But years of research also suggest that public opinion follows elite opinion. The public is divided because elites are divided. A better future for people and the environment will require better elites.

So rather than talk about what to do about polarization, Ecomodernism 2018 has been designed to model what constructive debate looks like. We will host familiar debates — about climate change, conservation, the American food system, and urbanization — giving full-throated partisans the chance to make their arguments and rebut their opponents. But we’ll also challenge them to accurately articulate the positions they disagree with and note the weaknesses in their own arguments. And we’ll invite other respondents to complicate those debates and challenge the premises upon which they are prosecuted.

Reconstructing a civil polity requires more than moderation. It demands that we create new norms for a more diverse society, in a more fractious time, faced with new and wicked problems. We hope you’ll help us figure out how to do that. Please join us for two nights this fall at the Salamander Resort in Middleburg, Virginia.  

What is Ecomodernism 2018?

Ecomodernism 2018 is an invite only dialogue hosted by the Breakthrough Institute for the Washington policy community. For ecomodernists, fellow travelers, and interested observers, it offers an opportunity to take stock of how critical debates might be shaped to better advance human wellbeing and environmental protection, how policy initiatives might shrink the human footprint while raising economic productivity, and how cross-cutting coalitions of stakeholders and policy-makers might succeed in transforming U.S. environmental politics.

Stay tuned for more details on our 2018 speakers and agenda.

Watch Senator Lisa Murkowski speak on climate rhetoric at the 2017 Breakthrough Dialogue East: