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.
The post-growth project
Our ongoing work to question the hegemonic idea of Economic Growth, formally launched in December 2012 by Tim Jackson and Dr Hermann Ott of the Bundestag, continues in a series of publications and events on the theme of the Post-Growth Project. We will be publishing a book bringing together the various strands of our work on this theme in the autumn.
Meanwhile, Green House was in the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday April 30 to launch the latest report from the project. This was part of Labour MP John McDonnell's initiative to open up Parliament through a series of talks under the title 'People's Parliament'. Green House'sAndrew Dobson kicked off with a presentation of his paper on 'The Politics of Post-Growth', arguing that the era of economic growth we live in now is one of exception rather than normality, and that it will inevitably come to an end. He went on to identify the preconditions for benign rather than catastrophic degrowth as:equality, democracy, a vigorous public sphere, feminism and a culture and politics of sufficiency. The event was chaired by Michael Meacher MP, and the respondents were Caroline Lucas MP and Molly Scott Cato, Green House member and Green Party Economics spokesperson. The presentation prompted a very lively debate, which you can join in if you download the report here.
You can download copies of our most recent reports on the Recent Publications page 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.
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We are forging international links: for example, with the new Post Growth Alliance (more details to follow), and with the new French think tank Institut Momentum. Here is their stirring 'mission statement', as translated by Green House:
"Our starting point is the realization that we are living at the end of the period of greatest material abundance ever known in human history. This abundance rests on temporary sources of concentrated, cheap energy. Today, accumulated energy and ecological debts are catching up with us - bombs ready to explode. This century's generations must prepare for this backlash by becoming less dependent on non-renewable resources, and by strengthening networks of solidarity in human communities. The wind of change is here. The fire of consumerism is down to its last embers. The historical moment in which we are living requires a different way of thinking. Quietly, an informal movement comprising committed citizens, communities, businesses and elected officials has begun the transition to a post-carbon world. These early actors are working to reduce their consumption, to produce food and energy locally, to invest in the local economy, to rehabilitate knowledge and preserve local ecosystems. Their motivations are varied: mitigating climate change, preserving the environment, food security, local economic development. The essence of these efforts, however, is the same: all recognize that the world is changing, business-as-usual based on the idea that the growth of production and consumption can and should continue indefinitely, no longer works. The global crisis of natural, energy and economic systems forms the fabric of our unique epoch. As a response, we are convinced of the need to develop transitions towards post-oil societies, societies of restraint and moderation.
The Institut Momentum serves as a laboratory of ideas on the issues of hyperindustrial society and the transitions needed to cushion the social impact of the end of oil."
Have a look too at articles by Green House Authors in the Green European Journal, for example Anne Chapman on Science here or Tom Lines on Food here. You can access the Green European Journal as a whole here.