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Friday 15th of January 2010
September 21, 2009    

Radical conference considers zero-growth economy

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by David Masters

Delegates at a conference in London this week will consider the possibility of a zero-growth economy.

The conference, organised by the Quakers, will look at “the connections between the global economy, people and the environment”, and will consider the links between unfettered economic growth and climate change.

The global economy is nearly five times the size it was 50 years ago, the Quakers said, growth that has led to a 60% degradation of the world’s ecosystems.

Helen Drewery, of Quaker Peace and Social Witness, said: “This conference comes at a crucial time as world leaders prepare for Copenhagen and we all question whether ‘business as usual’ is a realistic option in the aftermath of the recent economic turmoil.”

Speakers include economist Richard Douthwaite, author of ‘The Growth Illusion‘, environmental activist Alastair McIntosh, author of ‘Soil and Soul‘, Miriam Kennet of the Green Economics Institute, and Duncan Green of Oxfam.

“We need to find creative ways to nurture the growth of human well being without outgrowing the planet’s capacity to support us,” Drewery said.

“It’s a fine balance – and may well be humanity’s biggest challenge.”

Earlier this year a report by the Sustainable Development Commission said resisting economic growth would run the risk of global economic collapse, while continuing to pursue growth endangers the ecosystems humanity depends on for its long term survival.

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