Worldwatch Institute – Transforming Cultures

October 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

Erik Assadourian works with the Worldwatch Institute (thank you Anna for the introduction!). The Institute is an independent research organisation focusing on climate & energy, food & agriculture, and the green economy and is focusing on the ‘big ideas’ of transformational change towards sustainability and justice.
Erik - Worldwatch Institute.JPG

He is the author of State of the World 2010: From Consumerism to Sustainability (a dense but fascinating read), and has spent many years looking at the philosophical/moral/religious angles to sustainability. His work sits between the organisers/doers of the climate world and the academic world of systems theory, social myths, and theology – so we discussed the difficulty of bringing these intellectual ideas into practical, impactful political change. He’s also been focusing on non-violent direct action tactics – and has some big ideas on potential campaigns using our bodies to go beyond merely symbolic protest.

It’s been interesting to realise how much more opportunity there is in the UK for these type of ideas – particularly with Ed Miliband’s election as Labour leader. The US political scene is haunted by the endless and nasty split between right and left – and the thought of opening a conversation about what progress is/how to measure value is way beyond anything Washington politicos can imagine.

Some nice phrases and ideas

  • Instead of disposing of rubbish, talk about ‘hiding’ it (putting it into the ground is not disposal).
  • Today’s eco-villages and retreats are modern day equivalents of the monasteries – playing a role of societies conscience and supplying food and mental refuge
  • The ‘positive spiral’ – eg – a organic/fairtrade cafe sets up with a space for local community + organisers, profits go into an organic farm that then can employ more people and grow more produce – supplying the cafe + sparking other sustainable efforts.

Contact

eassadourian@worldwatch.org

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