Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Gov. Peter Shumlin will be among dozens of high-profile speakers who will address the second annual Slow Living Summit in downtown Brattleboro May 30-June 1.

The Summit is attracting engaged citizens, entrepreneurs, investors, educators, students, civic, foundation and non-profit leaders from throughout the United States. It boasts more than 50 sessions on topics like food, agriculture, spirit, investing, energy, technology, entrepreneurship, communities, and media.



Sanders will discuss how we can address two simultaneous crises — global warming and the unemployment and income inequality brought about by continuing sluggish economic conditions — by developing economic models that emphasize local and sustainable production. Shumlin, recipient in 2011 of the “greenest governor” award, will speak about Vermont’s environmental initiatives.

Because 2012 is the United Nations-designated Year of the Co-op, the Summit will have a special focus on co-operative organizations, including participation by John Restakis, executive director of the British Columbia Co-operative Association and author of Humanizing the Economy.

Other featured participants include James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency, David Orr, Oberlin College environmental professor and architect of the Obama administration’s policy on global warming Woody Tasch, founder of the organization Slow Money, Charles Eisenstein, author of Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition, and Chris Martenson, author of The Crash Course.

The Summit uses “slow” as a metaphor for sustainability and resilience. “Slow Living” is shorthand for taking a more reflective approach to living and work. “Slow Living” implies  being mindful of impacts on the environment, on Earth, and on communities; and it incorporates resilience — our ability to “bounce back” from the consequences of climate change, resource depletion and other changes and stresses.

“Imagine a conference that takes place not in the sterile corridors and conference rooms of a hotel conference center, but along the vibrant main street of a historic New England town with a rich arts scene,” said Orly Munzing, founder and executive director of Strolling of the Heifers, which is organizing the Summit.

“Creating a just and sustainable world isn’t just about economics and energy, it’s also about how we live and how we treat each other,” said Ellen McCulloch-Lovell, president of Marlboro College, one of the event’s co-sponsors along with Brattleboro-based World Institute-SIT. “We’re looking to solutions for our planet in which common good is just as important as private gain.”