At the 2012 Degrowth conference in Venice one of the highlights for me was the talk by Arturo Escobar (my notes from which can be found here). He is the author of Encountering Development and Territories of Difference, among others. His talk looked at how Transition might look in the context of the Global South, and held many fascinating insights. Here is the interview I did with him, first as an audio file, and below as a transcript.
The theme for today was work. The first plenary session featured four speakers. The first, Gilbert Rist from Institut Universitaire de Hautes Etudes in Geneva, was a pretty forthright dismissal of economics as it is practiced today. We need, he said, to free ourselves of the dominance that economics has over peoples’ will. There are two reasons why it is fatally flawed. The first is that it is based upon a mechanistic model which makes it impossible for economists to understand present ecological and environmental problems, especially in the biosphere.
The workshop called “What happens when Transition says no?” will bring together Joe Ryle and Rose Music from Transition Heathrow, Holly Tiffen from Totnes’ ‘NoToCosta’ campaign, and Michaela Richter and Rob McGhee (see above, Michaela couldn’t make the photo-taking) from Transition Cowbridge in South Wales to explore this important question. I asked Michaela and Rob to tell the story they’ll be bringing to the conference and what they hope people will get out of the workshop:
The Totnes Renewable Energy Society (TRESOC) have just submitted their planning application for two 2.3MW wind turbines on the edge of Totnes. It’s very exciting. TRESOC began life at a Transition Town Totnes Open Space meeting about energy, and now has over 500 members from the local community who have bought shares in it. To support their application, TRESOC are asking for as many people as possible from the local area to write letters of support before the public consultation period closes on September 26th. In the hope that it might encourage others to do so, here is the letter that I just submitted:
This month’s round up covers two months, because this time last month half of the team that lovingly create these round ups was away when they should have been producing this. As a result it’s a bit of a whopper. The latest Transition Bristol newsletter begins “In this issue…. The Bristol Pound is coming, the Bristol Pound is coming, oh, and lots of other stuff too! Read on”. That seemed like a good way for us to start too. The Bristol Pound, the vastly exciting imminent launch of a city-wide currency that is creating a frenzy of media interest, is nearly here. Here is a short film about it: