Geography of Hope returns to Point Reyes


The Geography of Hope Conference returns to Point Reyes Station with a specific goal. “We want people to leave with answers to the question, ‘What kind of ancestor do you want to be?’” said Elisabeth Ptak, an organizer. The three-day event, starting March 17, will explore the relationship between people and the landscape through conversations with writers, environmentalists, farmers and artists. Field trips will introduce attendees to West Marin’s ancestry of ranchers, settlers and Coast Miwok, and three panels will feature guests from various nationalities and academic backgrounds. John Hausdoerffer, director of the Center for Environment and Sustainability at Western State Colorado University, is partially responsible for generating this year’s theme. In 2013, he traveled to Minnesota to interview Winona LaDuke, a celebrated activist who will also be speaking at the conference. Ms. LaDuke instructed him to first speak with her mentor, Michael Dahl. “The first thing he asked me was: What kind of ancestor do I want to be?” Mr. Hausdoerffer recalled. The essay he penned about his experience helped structure this year’s theme after a conference sponsor brought the question to Black Mountain Circle. Steve Costa, a co-founder of the nonprofit, which has been putting on conference since 2008, began envisioning this year’s conference during the last one, titled “Women and the Land.” “The theme of the conference couldn’t come at a more strategic time for West Marin and, in many ways, the country. And for some of us, how we get through the next four years will determine what kind of ancestors we will become.”