About (Dr) Ruth Thomas-Pellicer
Founding Member and International Coordinator
"Cultivate [personal excellence] in your person,
And the character you develop will be genuine;
Cultivate it in your family,
And its character will be abundant;
Cultivate it in your village,
And its character will be enduring;
Cultivate it in the state,
And its character will flourish;
Cultivate it in the world,
And its character will be all-pervading."
-Dao De Jing, Chapter 54
I was born in Reus (Catalonia) on March 24, 1974 into a family of curtain shopkeepers. Over the years, I have enjoyed the support, strength and example of a lovely mother and lacked that of a responsible father, whom I love all the same.
I have decided to go childless since I somehow conceive all the children in the world as my own children: They need some hope upon which to build a future. I have committed myself to giving form to part of this hope. Similarly, this commitment renders me to be ever available for whatever demands, big and small, and thus marital life does not appear so easily compatible. In this context, I have chosen the path of the single woman and I am very happy with this choice.
Own Personality Profile
The trait of my personality that I nurture the most is my honesty. I indeed consider myself a person who strives to set truth and righteousness as my main priority. Over the years I have also done my best to stop my sense and idea of righteousness from turning into self-righteousness. Rather, I have been learning to be tolerant of worldviews alternative to mine and I tend to attribute wrongdoing to lack of awareness and spiritual blindness. An utterly embodied spirituality indeed being another trait that defines my core values, I hold a profound sense of respect and awe for the whole of creation and show unending gratitude to the higher powers and intelligence for my daily bread and health. I am further grateful in advance for all what is in store for me, often holding the conviction that this will be not only benign but highly beneficial for my purpose and goals in life. And here is where Eco Pax Mundi Agora comes in. I conceive this endeavour consonant with my sense and idea of righteousness. 'This could be heaven for everyone' as runs one of Queen's songs, if humane values organised our lives. Eco Pax Mundi Agora is my modest contribution to this envisioned wonderful world for everyone and everything inhabiting the planet.
As to my most conspicuous downside I must confess that I stretch Mother Teresa's work ethic, which states that 'work dignifies', to the most cruel extremes. I either work for a living freelancing as an English and German language teacher and translator or I spend my time purposively researching and networking for my ecohumanitarian fervour, reading and writing academic papers, or e-painting, writing and playing my own piano music and lyrics, which you can listen to on rooting Ellipse. My workaholism has a considerable toll upon my social life, which is limited and confined to the very best friends. Moreover, my dogged sense of duty and perfectionism leave me, day in day out, truly exhausted.
However, aware of the fact that our embodied condition is our most precious gift upon the planet, I never overlook my physical well-being. I keep fit with my regular gymnastics-yoga, intensive walks preferably along the seashore and lengthy swims in the sea. Corpore sano in mente sana, as the saying goes.
Added to this, I have a very strong and determined character. I do not easily compromise my goals. Only a cause of moral nature can keep me away from them, and since I consider my goals to be aligned with noble causes, I rarely experiment conflicts of a moral sort. I am further impatient with myself but try to be understanding with my students' own learning pace. This might be the reason why I work best by myself. I like proceeding at my own pace, which often means going back and froth juggling a number of tasks at a time. I must however learn to delegate and accept that there are many roads that lead to Rome when it comes to carrying out jobs. This will be a highly necessary skill as Eco Pax Mundi Agora starts operating and scales up its operations.
Ageing: adding years in one's lifetime is the chance we are given to learn and grow as human beings. The cult of youth in western(ised) societies is a crass error.
Appearance: I stick to the premise that plain is most beautiful. So except from some dance performances and Carnival occasions when I was a child and a teenager, I have always abstained from make-up and lipstick. Similarly, I wouldn't allow any multinationals to go into my hair colour by way of dyeing products. I have already started greying and I welcome the process as a token of wisdom.
Drink: In line with many religious texts, I don't believe that the body was created to be subjected to the stress of alcohol. I have been a teetotaller the whole of my life and intend to remain one till death bed.
Sexuality: women should learn masturbation at an early age for a number of reasons. First, in order to discover her sexuality and pleasure points including her clitoris. Two, not to be rushed into sexual intercourse just for the sake of having a sexual experience but as a way to empower herself when it comes to deciding with whom and when this sexual experience is desirable. Third, to be able to direct her partner to her pleasure points when engaging in intimate relations that go beyond, although may include, penetration.
Tobacco and other drugs: I love my body and so try to show the highest respect to it. I have never inhaled directly a single puff of smoke in my life, let alone been hooked on weed. I further conceive 'social smoking' an unwise way to spend your time. I might approve of the use of natural drugs such as ayahuasca and magic mushrooms in a ritual setting where the drug is used as as a way to induce a heightened spiritual state. I find the use of synthetic drugs an immature way to escape reality and consider that those fabricating and distributing these should be ashamed of their deeds.
Career in Ecophilosophy
Intellectualism, driven by an inner urge to make sense of the world, determined my first moves as a teenager and young adult. That was the prime reason why I decided to undertake what today is known as a double degree in modern languages (English, Japanese, German) and the humanities. As a member of the minority community of Catalonia that was emerging from the dark and oppressive age under Franco's dictatorship, the BA in Translation and Interpretation provided me with the means to build bridges with the outer world. This impulse to communicate with foreign cultures took me as far as Tokyo, where I was one of the three successful candidates for the funded exchange programme between my alma mater, the Autonomous University of Barcelona, and the prestigious Sophia University (Jouchi Daigaku), Tokyo. Japan meant taking my language skills in Japanese to the advanced level. My BA in the Humanities, for its part, endowed me with insight into a variety of fields of knowledge. I enjoyed so much being simultaneously immersed in several academic fields that, with an average mark of 87.6%, I graduated with the second best mark in my class. The steady acquisition of these skills rendered me a progressively more mature adult and, as a result, I developed a willingness to do my share in bettering the state of the world which had (and sadly increasing in number and severity) multiple ecocides writ large.
Inspired by an ongoing urge to excel in all my endeavours and enjoying constant financial support in my studies, I was eligible to take a postgraduate course in ecological economics, which introduced me to the environmental malaises of our modern age and, equally importantly, to the concepts of ecological thought. This background, and supported by a EU Marie Curie fellowship, allowed me to pursue further studies in England, where I discovered one of my true vocations in the field of ecophilosophy and was awarded a PhD scholarship by the University of Surrey to propose a post-ecocidal philosophy.
My time at Surrey proved highly productive in terms of catching up with several strands of Western (and Eastern) philosophy as well as with multiple other environmentally relevant disciplines. I made good progress in my tentative proposal to re-embody that Western metaphysical path that, perhaps with Socrates, seems to have steadily been losing touch with our incarnate condition and thus to be largely responsible for the global ecodebacle. My doctoral effort, openly praised by my examiners (the external one being the internationally renowned ecophilosoper of science and editor-in-chief of the peer-reviewed ecocentric journal The Ecological Citizen, Dr Patrick Curry) was met by a receptive public. My doctoral thesis has been published in book format as The Places of God in an Age of Re-Embodiments: What is Culture? by Cambridge Scholars Publishing; the British Sociological Association Theory Study Group became acquainted with some of the innovative concepts advanced in my doctoral work and, thanks to their funding, I could convene the BSA workshop 'Re-Imagining Our Sociological Contemporaneity: What is the Age of Re-Embodiments?'; and Professor Anna Grear, from GreenHouse Books, Routledge's Law, Justice and Ecology Series, approached me to publish the papers of the workshop and further invited ones in an edited collection entitled Contributions to Law, Philosophy and Ecology: Exploring Re-Embodiments.
My ecophilosophical quest is ongoing. In the form of a philosophy of transpositions I intend to effect a post-ecocidal turn in the realms of philosophy, science and religion. You can follow my advances on my scholarly website 'Weaving Post-Ecocidal Cultures of Transpositions'.
Making an Ecohumanitarian Difference: The Birth of Eco Pax Mundi Agora
In my early 20s I developed a very intense 'secular missionary' urge. I learnt about Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela and I strongly felt, that like them, I wished to somehow contribute to the betterment of humankind. However, I equally strongly felt that my extended studies in modern languages, human sciences, ecological economics and ecophilosophy were a necessary step to make sense of the world and learn how to interact with it in a fashion that can make a true difference. Consequently my doctoral and subsequent academic work proposed a bold post-ecocidal turn in Western metaphysics.
Parallel to all my studies, my inclination to make a difference in the mundane reality has persisted over the years. Hence my regular attendance at the annual World Social Forums, where in the 2007 Nairobi edition my Australian doctoral colleague Miriam Pepper and I presented a climate treaty proposal in the form of 'A Jubilee for Climate Justice' and, consequently, I became the spokesperson for the WSF Climate Justice Group. In addition, I must confess that I grew irreversibly impregnated with green politics and came to share, with a progressively profounder conviction, the view that contemporary intellectual efforts should be geared to a global reboot that, to be ecofriendly, will have to closely emulate Mother Earth's ways.
From these studies I have incessantly derived a great deal of hope. I have learnt that, however dire the situation, it is possible to stabilise the climate with simple (i.e. low-tech and low-cost) solutions that only entail respecting nature's processes, chief amongst which is photosynthesis. My pressing sense of global responsibility inspired me to devise Eco Pax Mundi Agora, which revolves around the potential of photosynthesis to transform harmful atmospheric carbon into an input of soil fertility.
Eco Pax Mundi Agora was born in 2005 as Eco Pax Mundi, an online forum on eco-social justice run with an Italian peer, Vito de Lucia, who I met at a climate conference. In 2007, as my Australian doctoral colleague, Miriam Pepper, and I joined the Liberation Theology chapter of the World Social Forum held in Nairobi with a radical climate treaty where we met the Christian minister, Obongo Mbuya, and Eco Pax Mundi became ecohumanitarian. This effort was geared to Kenya, yet my remit is manifestly global. Hence Eco Pax Mundi Agora.
How do I expect to overcome several amounts of adversity that will sure crop up in the establishment of Eco Pax Mundi Agora and the furthering of the agoras? Single-mindedness helps you to overcome any hurdles as your enthusiasm prompts you to perceive these as contextual variables rather than problems. When the University of Surrey awarded me a doctoral scholarship, I rented a modest room with a landlady, which meant I had no research facilities other than those provided by the university. I soon realised the constant noise in the university room was detrimental to my demanding philosophical work. So I decided to do my research in the early evening and into the small hours, when the room was deserted. My commitment to my research overcame the impact of staying up in the cold. However, this sacrifice pales in comparison to the many nights I had to stay up revising at the age of 17 when my father abandoned us leaving us economically stranded. I had to tend to a deeply distressed mother and yet I needed very high marks in my university entrance exams to be admitted to the Faculty of Modern Languages. I fully succeeded in obtaining my goal!
I further enjoy experience in undertaking overarching goals. To be sure, when I started my doctoral work my grasp of western philosophy failed to go beyond introductory subjects in my degree in the humanities and occasional insights from ecological economists. Yet I was determined to analyse the reasons why the western mindset is proving so ecocidal -i.e. so destructive of the natural world. I was furthermore intent upon developing a pioneering post-ecocidal philosophy. This meant long hours learning about pre-Socratic, Socratic, natural, and post-Kantian Continental philosophers. My groundbreaking research has borne some interesting fruits as it has been expounded above.I feel it as my duty now to reciprocate the trust and resources that institutions have allocated to my intellectual abilities and take the lead again to translate into real-world terms my scholarly endeavour. What is more, I have now mustered up the courage and gained the maturity to translate this concept for a post-ecocidal age into real-world terms. I am truly poised to found and coordinate Eco Pax Mundi Agora, a nonprofit international ecohumanitarian organisation, which, like the Red Cross and Heifer International, should continue beyond my directorship and leave a lasting legacy for the future of Mother Earth.
I conceive Eco Pax Mundi Agora as an expression of the political portfolio held on the part of the global altermondialiste movement. That is, I undoubtedly hold hope for our trying future. However, it is also my belief that we must be readily willing to fight, to the point of exhaustion but without ever compromising our vision, against the current.
I am so grateful and admire so much the dedicated work undertaken by the alter-globalisation movement that I am a regular supporter of Greenpeace, Regeneration International, the Red Cross, Oxfam-Intermón, Save the Children, UNHCR and Médicos del Mundo. I further support a good number of ad hoc campaigns such as Anesvad's crusades in Africa for the eradication of leprosy amongst women or Oxfam's incursions into Central America to ensure food security to the area in an attempt to weather the ravages of climate change. I am also subscribed to the honest journalism of Countercurrents and regularly donate to The Guardian.