The Steady State Economy Conference

Workshop 6: Engaging Politicians and the Media

Question: With the increase in environmental problems caused by economic growth, and its failure to increase well-being, why is there so little discussion of alternatives in the media, and how can this be changed?

Why: Although there has been substantial academic research indicating that economic growth cannot and should not remain the policy goal of developed nations, there remains little discussion of this view — or of the steady state alternative — in the media. We might have expected that the global financial crisis would draw attention to some of the problems with the “growth at all costs” model, and yet the media have focussed far more attention on bankers’ bonuses and other trivia than on the structural problems that caused the crisis. Governments have poured vast amounts of money into propping up a failing system, when other, more sustainable, alternatives exist. Despite recent publications such as Prosperity Without Growth by Tim Jackson, the alternative of a steady state economy has not yet captured the imagination of the UK public.

How: Some approaches that have been proposed to increase discussion about the steady state economy alternative include: web videos, conferences, an international research and information-sharing network, positive marketing, and endorsable statements such as the CASSE Position on Economic Growth.

Franny Armstrong    Franny Armstrong (Speaker)

Franny is a British documentary film director working for her own company, Spanner Films. She has developed three acclaimed films: The Age of Stupid, about climate change, McLibel, about an infamous McDonald’s court case, and Drowned Out, following the fight against the Narmada Dam project. Her most recent project is the UK-wide campaign 10:10, which aims to cut UK carbon emissions by 10% during 2010.

Ian Christie    Ian Christie (Speaker)

Ian Christie is an independent advisor, researcher, teacher and writer on sustainable development and environmental issues. He is an Associate of the UK environmental policy think-tank Green Alliance, and has been a contributor to courses for many years at CES. He chairs the advisory group for the Centre’s RESOLVE programme on lifestyles, behaviour, values and consumption. His work has included advisory roles on sustainability and climate policy in Whitehall (2006-2008), consultancy to voluntary bodies, public agencies and businesses, lecturing and advocacy. His research interests include policy analysis for sustainable development, behaviour and values for sustainable consumption, social and cultural dimensions of climate policy, environmental philosophy and resource management.

Hali Healy    Hali Healy (Chair)

Hali Healy works on CEECEC, an EC funded project for building civil society (CSO) capacity to engage in ecological economics research. She was a co-organiser of the 1st International Conference on Sustainable Degrowth in Paris, facilitating a workshop that produced the conference Declaration on Degrowth. In London she organised and chaired Rethinking Growth: Toward an International Degrowth Network, and co-facilitated working groups including one on steady state economics and degrowth, at the 2nd International Conference on Sustainable Degrowth in Barcelona. Her research interests include ecological economics, political ecology and the impacts of CSO-academic collaboration on sustainable development policy.

Paul Chatterton    Paul Chatterton (Rapporteur)

Paul Chatterton is a writer, researcher and campaigner. He was born in Leeds and is currently a Senior Lecturer in Geography at the University of Leeds where he heads up the ‘Cities and Social Justice’ Research Cluster and is director of the MA in ‘Activism and Social Change’. He has written extensively on urban regeneration, youth cultures, self managed politics and movements for social and ecological justice. He is a founder member of the Trapese popular education collective who wrote a handbook for Do it Yourself politics. Paul helped to establish the Common Place Social Centre in Leeds city centre, is secretary of a pioneering housing co-operative called Lilac, and is a trustee of a local resource centre Oblong. All his work can be found on his website.

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