Transition Culture

An Evolving Exploration into the Head, Heart and Hands of Energy Descent

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23 Jan 2009

The Transition Culture Question for the Business Leaders at DAVOS

After a late night session in a smoke filled room, fuelled by chocolate and gallons of coffee, finally a wording has emerged from Transition Towers for the question to go forward to the great and the good at DAVOS.  It is a kind of compilation of some of those you (collectively) submitted.  We hope you like it, and that it gets put in front of the panel.

“On a finite planet, it is not impossible for most of us to acheive fulfillment and happiness through material consumption, and will many of our children and grandchildren even have the opportunity to make that choice if we go on with our current ways of being? Is it not time to leave the very concept of ‘economic growth’ behind?”

Categories: General

Comments are now closed on this site, please visit Rob Hopkins' blog at Transition Network to read new posts and take part in discussions.


23 Jan 12:54pm

I like the question, but isn’t the wording back to front? Am I just being dense or should it be “it is not possible” or “is it not impossible”?

Marcin Gerwin
23 Jan 1:40pm

I know, I’m not a native English speaker, but I had to read it 4 times to grasp the meaning of the question. As I read, the World Economic Forum will host many business leaders from UK and USA, but also from countries like Germany, Russia or Norway. Would it be possible to rephrase the question, so that it would be easier to understand for all attendees? Something like: “Since we live on a finite planet and world population is growing fast, is it not time to leave the very concept of ‘economic growth’ behind?”

David Eggleton
23 Jan 3:35pm

I like Marcin’s rewrite a lot, but would remove the italics from economic growth and replace “very” with “materialistic”. I could explain, but I guess it’s too late in the game.

23 Jan 3:49pm

Sorry to be picky, but how about spelling ‘achieve’ correctly?

23 Jan 3:55pm

Rob, rewrite all in the morning and more straight (for us poor strangers), but basically it’s ok 😉

23 Jan 3:57pm

And geez, figure out how to spell “achieve”! 😛

Terry Halwes
23 Jan 11:00pm

The first sentence is somewhat incoherent. Even if you say “it is impossible” or “it is not possible,” it’s still not really a question. Which leaves the reader having to guess what choice our children may have no opportunity to make.

Tom A
24 Jan 1:21pm

As noted above the question as stated is not grammatically correct! Too much smoke in that room I say!

24 Jan 10:55pm

It seems it is not possible to achieve fulfillment and happiness through material consumption. If we continue in the same vein of consumption as is currently popular, our children and grandchildren will have fewer choices than might be possible if we changed our behaviour now. Is it not time we left behind the materialistic concept of ‘economic growth’?

My preferred wording, for what its worth!

Anyone read ‘Affluenza’ yet?? This very subject brought to life.

26 Jan 12:54am

What happened to the i before e except after c!!

Is this one of the acceptions?

26 Jan 8:41am

I think that’s a referral. Looking forward to seeing the revised, edited version!

André Sautou
26 Jan 9:01am

I think “On a finite planet, is it possible for most of us to acheive fulfillment and happiness …” would be coherent with the next part of the first question.

To this first (corrected) question, I answer “no”.

To the second, I not only answer “yes”, but I also think we should have left this concept behind a long time ago, had we been able to choose.

Unfortunately, we were and still are not able to choose. Like so many other animals, we, civilized humans, always push ourselves to the limits of the carrying capacity of the finite environment we depend on. The Age of Oil made us no wiser in that respect. In fact dependence on fossil fuels has led us to a crisis far greater than any in the past…

Dan Dashnaw
26 Jan 5:10pm

Use Marcin’s question. This question- built- by commitee is unfortunate in its vagueness and grammar.

27 Jan 10:28pm

Dear All,
Yes, yes, apologies about the crap grammar and dreadful typos… it was Friday, it was very late, and it was revised as I was dashing out to get home. It is “i before e except after c”, I do know that, I can only blame haste and tiredness. However, the good news is that our collaboratively cobbled together question has been selected!!

They have corrected my poor spelling and will hopefully turn “it is” to “is it”…. so, we may yet get our question asked. There are some other great ones there too, my favourite is the European Tribune’s question “Why are we still listening to the people whose ideas and policies drove us into the current crisis?”

So yes, many apologies for the poor grammar. And lets see how it gets responded to….

Steve Atkins
28 Jan 12:14pm

I see nothing wrong with inventing new words – Can somebody please come up with a new word to replace this one…


rules: replacement requires a rock solid definition

28 Jan 7:05pm


how about
“long lasting”

Katy Duke
19 Feb 2:22pm

What happened to this? Did it get asked and was there a response?