Part 2 of 3: Getting Beyond Economic Growth

Moderator Erik Hoffner begins the question/answer segment of the event with a query into the “Occupy Wall Street” movement.

“It is important,” says Heinberg, “for the folks in the occupy movement to get that this is not just a transitory problem that we can solve and get us all back to, you know, the easy motoring American consumer-led economy of the sixties and seventies. That’s just not going to happen. But we can change the direction of our economy and achieve a situation where everybody has meaningful work and everyone is supported in making a transition toward a more locally-based economy that works according to nature’s principles and exists within nature’s boundaries and limits.”

Heinberg is quick to add that it gets complicated when this message is turned into short, political messages for the media. He says that the occupy movement should focus on getting money out of politics and taking away corporate “personhood’.
“If we don’t do that, then there’s very little else we can do,” he says, since both of the big political parties in the U.S.A. are subsidiaries of Wall Street. He adds that the occupy movement should also send Helena’s message of re-regulation of trade and banking.

“Our governments have been handing over OUR jobs, OUR money, OUR resources to feed giant corporations instead of us,” says Norberg-Hodge, and that people should see the profound stress and unhappiness that comes with this system worldwide.

They discuss the military-industrial complex and its link to centralized, global expansion. Also, they say that local economy efforts should start with local food before attempting to establish local currency.

“Education is absolutely fundamental,” says Norberg-Hodge, urging more outdoor education to have a deeper, more spiritual connection to nature.

“Even a city park where the children are encouraged to move in a more caring and meditative way,” she says. “Gardening can be a wonderful way of doing that.”

She thinks that governments are changing school curriculums to train people for the global corporations.

“We’re basically training people for unemployment,” she continues,” We need to look at the link between what you learn in school and healthy, sustainable, more localized economies… I want to stress that local doesn’t mean local… it means localizing. It means shortening distances… insisting that businesses become more place-based. That they belong to a country and that they adhere to the rules of that country.”

Heinberg points to the ageing farmer population, saying that we should be teaching our children to grow food. He estimates that we will need fifty million new farmers over the next twenty years. Hoffner cites the Greenhorns as the U.S. group leading the young farming movement.

Oct. 2011

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