Politics, they say, is the art of the possible. But the possible is not fixed. What we believe is possible depends on our knowledge and beliefs about the world. Ideas can change the world, and Green House is about challenging the ideas that have created the world we live in now, and offering positive alternatives.
The problems we face are systemic, and so the changes we need to make are complex and interconnected. Many of the critical analyses and policy prescriptions that will be part of the new paradigm are already out there. Our aim is to communicate them more clearly, and more widely.
Today (12 December) the campaign groups Unlock Democracy and Electoral Reform Society handed in a petition with over 15,000 signatures, including a whole range of academics and civil society organisations, calling on the Prime Minister to establish a UK-wide Constitutional Convention. As the first part of its contribution to the growing clamour for reform in the wake of the Scottish devolution referendum, Green House has submitted written evidence to the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee outlining how constitutional reform could support a transition to a more just and more sustainable Britain. You can download it here: Green House evidence on devolution (pdf, 272 K)
The second element of our contribution will be to hold a series of meetings around England to debate these ideas. The first will be in Brighton on 20 January - more details will follow.
On the symbolically appropriate date of 5 November, Green House held a discussion event in the House of Lords to launch our new book - 'The Post-Growth Project: How the End of Economic Growth Could Bring a Fairer and Happier Society' .
Our panel consisted of (L to R) Baroness Jeny Jones, Molly Scott Cato MEP, Rupert Read, Zoe Williams (the Guardian) and Aurélie Maréchal (Green European Foundation).
After very lively discussion, we were bemused to find that we had to be escorted from the building by the police, as they had 'kettled' the Occupy Democracy protestors in Parliament Square. This prompted some of us to wonder who were the real revolutionaries: was it the demonstrators wearing the Guy Fawkes masks outside the 'mother of all parliaments' and apparently frightening the security personnel, or was it the group earnestly debating the end of growth inside? We planted our metaphorical bomb (illustrated below) and left quietly with our police escort. You can order your own copy here.
Further news from the Post-Growth Project:
The final Report from this phase of the project is now available for download from this website, or to order as a printed report. It is 'How to Make Do and Mend our Economy: Rethinking Investment Strategies for Construction and Industry to meet the Challenge of Sustainability', by Jonathan Essex. You can download it, together with the other Reports that make up the book, and all our earlier publications, from our Publications pages.
Our work in this area inspired a provocative Green House Gas by Bill Blackwater on the question ‘Why do capitalist economies need to grow?’ which argues that growth is essential to capitalism and that therefore anybody who believes we need to abandon growth must accept that this means we need to abandon capitalism. This has provoked in turn a response fro Green House's Victor Anderson, and we invite others to contribute to this essential and widening debate.
You can download these and all of our Reports, Responses and Gases on the Publications pages, or find out who is involved on the Green House People page. Please also see who is supporting us on the page about our Advisory Group or check out our influences at Find Out More.
|This we believe|
|Green House people|
|post growth project|
|find out more|
New Green House 'Gas'! Victor Anderson has written a Gas in response to Bill Blackwell in our developing conversation on the relationship between capitalism and growth. You can download 'Growth, Capitalism & the ‘Green Economy’: A response to 'Why do capitalist economies need to grow?'' from our Publications pages.
Have a Green Christmas! You can learn how in a festive exchange between Green House's Rupert Read and the Guardian's Zoe Williams in Cambridge on 20 December. Details are here
...and in the New Year why not help us make a new country? Debate Green House's ideas for devolution and constitutional reform in Brighton on 20 January. Details to follow.