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Alternatiba 2018: we are the last generation that can save the Planet

By Jason Nardi

Under the pouring rain, the city of Bayonne (in the French Basque country) is nonetheless beautiful and full of life: on Sunday 7th of October the “Alternatives Village” was all over the old town, with hundreds of people in the streets and squares dedicated to many of the existing “alternative” practices – most of them if not all we can say Social Solidarity Economy – that today are not only possible but being done and used by more and more people. Collective Renewable energy solutions, shared mobility (the symbol of Alternatiba is a tandem bicycle – and the bicycle tour that involved thousands of people throughout France, Switzerland and Belgium a success, arriving in Bayonne on the 6th), food agroecological production and collaborative distribution, the Eusko social currency (with both its paper and electronic version) and ethical banking, but also community and cooperative housing, a strong eco-feminist presence (in streets and debates) and a special attention to the migration crisis, brought to us by the current dominant “growth” economy and the climate change that it engenders.

The latter was the main underlying theme of this Festival, started 5 years ago in Bayonne by the citizens group Bizi, full of “normal” and young people, families, and of course activists – who debated together with a rich program (https://alternatiba.eu/2018/10/programme-du-weekend-d-arrivee-du-tour-alternatiba/) as well as cultural and artistic events. While the urgency of a radical, systemic change was clearly perceived by all participants, the convivial and festive atmosphere gave much hope and renewed energy. Saving the Planet is no longer an option – now is the time to engage: “change the system, not the climate”.

Extract from the article Climate: 15,000 people in Bayonne for the release of the IPCC 1.5°C report

More than 15,000 people joined Bayonne this weekend for a major climate campaign. The two days marked by the arrival of the Tour Alternatiba, a gigantic village of alternatives, conferences and an atmosphere of popular emulation ended with a manifesto to initiate the immediate metamorphosis of the territories. Among them, nearly 200 personalities, scientists, political and associative leaders, artists, former ministers. In a duplex from South Korea, Valérie Masson-Delmotte, a member of the IPCC scientific committee, gave the public gathered in Bayonne the first opportunity to adopt the 1.5°C ratio and encouraged the continuation of citizen actions such as the Tour Alternatiba.

On the eve of the release of the IPCC 1.5°C report, Bayonne delivered a strong message. The final manifesto, read by Gaby, a young high school student from Poitiers and Moriba, a young Guinean saved from drowning by a maritime rescue boat while crossing the Mediterranean, both sixteen years old, launched a vibrant appeal for the immediate metamorphosis of our territories.

With nearly 50 conferences (attended by 6263 people) on such fundamental issues as the current government’s climate and energy transition assessment, obstacles to transition, economic relocation, transition financing, transport, renewable energies, solidarity and climate justice, this weekend also contributed to the ongoing discussions. Concrete alternatives such as the 100% renewable electricity supplier Enercoop or the eusko, already Europe’s leading local currency in terms of volume of currency in circulation, which passed the 1 million euskos mark that same weekend, have demonstrated the possibility that alternatives have to change scale.

This civic effervescence in Bayonne reflects what was observed during the 4 months of the Alternatiba Tour, where a total of more than 77,000 people showed their determination to take action to make a real difference. Under the guise of a great popular celebration, Alternatiba 2018 has once again confirmed that the crucial challenge of the fight against climate change is not only a vital challenge that tens of thousands of citizens are ready to take up, but also the foundation for more sustainable and desirable societies.

Text of the Manifesto  (in French) here.

Videos and photos here.

Post-growth: The EU needs a stability and wellbeing pact, not more growth

Article of The Guardian, September 16, 2018

238 academics call on the European Union and its member states to plan for a post-growth future in which human and ecological wellbeing is prioritised over GDP

This week, scientists, politicians, and policymakers are gathering in Brussels for a landmark conference. The aim of this event, organised by members of the European parliament from five different political groups, alongside trade unions and NGOs, is to explore possibilities for a “post-growth economy” in Europe.

For the past seven decades, GDP growth has stood as the primary economic objective of European nations. But as our economies have grown, so has our negative impact on the environment. We are now exceeding the safe operating space for humanity on this planet, and there is no sign that economic activity is being decoupled from resource use or pollution at anything like the scale required. Today, solving social problems within European nations does not require more growth. It requires a fairer distribution of the income and wealth that we already have.

Growth is also becoming harder to achieve due to declining productivity gains, market saturation, and ecological degradation. If current trends continue, there may be no growth at all in Europe within a decade. Right now the response is to try to fuel growth by issuing more debt, shredding environmental regulations, extending working hours, and cutting social protections. This aggressive pursuit of growth at all costs divides society, creates economic instability, and undermines democracy.

Those in power have not been willing to engage with these issues, at least not until now. The European commission’s Beyond GDP project became GDP and Beyond. The official mantra remains growth — redressed as “sustainable”, “green”, or “inclusive” – but first and foremost, growth. Even the new UN sustainable development goals include the pursuit of economic growth as a policy goal for all countries, despite the fundamental contradiction between growth and sustainability.

The good news is that within civil society and academia, a post-growth movement has been emerging. It goes by different names in different places: décroissance, Postwachstum, steady-state or doughnut economics, prosperity without growth, to name a few. Since 2008, regular degrowth conferences have gathered thousands of participants. A new global initiative, the Wellbeing Economies Alliance (or WE-All), is making connections between these movements, while a European research network has been developing new “ecological macroeconomic models”. Such work suggests that it’s possible to improve quality of life, restore the living world, reduce inequality, and provide meaningful jobs – all without the need for economic growth, provided we enact policies to overcome our current growth dependence.

Some of the changes that have been proposed include limits on resource use, progressive taxation to stem the tide of rising inequality, and a gradual reduction in working time. Resource use could be curbed by introducing a carbon tax, and the revenue could be returned as a dividend for everyone or used to finance social programmes. Introducing both a basic and a maximum income would reduce inequality further, while helping to redistribute care work and reducing the power imbalances that undermine democracy. New technologies could be used to reduce working time and improve quality of life, instead of being used to lay off masses of workers and increase the profits of the privileged few.

Given the risks at stake, it would be irresponsible for politicians and policymakers not to explore possibilities for a post-growth future. The conference happening in Brussels is a promising start, but much stronger commitments are needed. As a group of concerned social and natural scientists representing all Europe, we call on the European Union, its institutions, and member states to:

1. Constitute a special commission on post-growth futures in the EU parliament. This commission should actively debate the future of growth, devise policy alternatives for post-growth futures, and reconsider the pursuit of growth as an overarching policy goal.

2. Incorporate alternative indicators into the macroeconomic framework of the EU and its member states. Economic policies should be evaluated in terms of their impact on human wellbeing, resource use, inequality, and the provision of decent work. These indicators should be given higher priority than GDP in decision-making.

3. Turn the stability and growth pact (SGP) into a stability and wellbeing pact. The SGP is a set of rules aimed at limiting government deficits and national debt. It should be revised to ensure member states meet the basic needs of their citizens, while reducing resource use and waste emissions to a sustainable level.

4. Establish a ministry for economic transition in each member state. A new economy that focuses directly on human and ecological wellbeing could offer a much better future than one that is structurally dependent on economic growth.

​I International Congress in Africa Living Cooperation and Global Citizenship

Campaign for a Global Curriculum of Social Solidarity Economy’s
​I International Congress in Africa
LIVING COOPERATION AND GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP
December 9, 10 and 11, 2018
Kibera (Rowallan Camp, Nairobi), Quênia

COME TOGETHER TO LIVE THE PRINCIPLE OF UBUNTU- “I AM WHAT I AM FOR WHAT WE ALL ARE ” AND BUILD COOPERATION, SUSTAINABILITY AND PEACE STORIES
Let’s meet and connect with social activists from Africa, the Americas and Europe who are developing alternative, sustainable practices to the dominant modes of producing economy, education and culture.

We are calling all those involved in formal, non formal and informal educational processes aiming planetary citizenship and the transformation of reality, with the strengthening of solidarity, non-patriarchal, non-colonial economies, to participate in the Campaign for a Global Curriculum of Social Solidarity Economy’s I International Congress in Africa, LIVING COOPERATION AND GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP. The event, announced at the World Social Forum of Salvador, BR, March 2018, is organized by the Amani Kibera Center for Education for Peace through Deportivo, in Kibera, Nairobi, Quênia and wants to contribute to the realization of the 2030 Agenda- Sustainable Development Goals.
For three days, we will meet citizen initiatives in Kibera, the largest favela of Kenya, where cooperation and solidarity seek to guarantee the rights to housing, food, water, education, sports and peace. We will listen to stories of experiences in education for the solidarity economy and global citizenship, by activists and thinkers from Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and countries of the Americas and Europe. We will participate in thematic working groups on the axes of the Conference – Culture of Peace, Sports for Peace, Youth, Women, Ancestral Knowledge, Sustainability and Territories, always in the perspective of the promotion of new solidarity based, cooperative economies. The event – which will be broadcast on the Internet as an Extension Activity of the World Social Forum – will result in an online Magazine that will be published, based on the contributions to this Conference, and in cooperation projects of members of global civil society present, at local, regional and international level (See Program below).
JOIN US AT THE CAMPAIGN FOR A GLOBAL CURRICULUM OF SOCIAL SOLIDARITY ECONOMY’S CONGRESS “LIVING COOPERATION AND GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP”
1-Register as a participant, by sending an email to , containing:
A) your name, e-mail, telephone, organization to which you belong and indicating the modality of participation; face-to-face (will be present in Nairobi) or virtual (via Internet transmission)

OR
2-Register as presenter and submit papers in one or more of the thematic axes of the Conference by sending an e-mail to containing

A) your name, e-mail, telephone, organization to which it belongs and indicating the modality of participation; face-to-face (will be present in Nairobi) or virtual (via Internet transmission)
B) Title of the presentation. Thematic axis (s) addressed: Culture of Peace (), Sports for Peace (), Youth (), Women (), Ancestral Knowledge (), Sustainability () and Territories ()
Type of presentation: Speech ( ) Circle of Conversation ( ) Discussion () Workshop () Other () Which?…….
Time: (15 to 90 m)

Participation in the Conference is free, but they accept collaborations aimed at the reconstruction of the Amani Kibera Center, which was destroyed on July 23 of this year for the construction of a road. https://secure.changa.co.ke/myweb/share/24630

Those who register will receive information about lodging in Nairobi.
If you need a Letter from the Organizers requesting support for the expenses with the trip, this will be provided.
PROGRAM
Day 1 – Opening – the participants; Visit to the transformative initiatives in Kibera; Night of art and culture
Day 2- Presentations of activists and thinkers from Africa, Americas and Europe. Presentations (working groups) on the topics of the Conference
Day 3 – Plenary on the papers presented. Proposals for joint projects of Education for the social solidarity Economy and Global Citizenship, towards the realization of the 2030 Agenda-SDG. Night of art and culture
Consultas: internationalcongresscampaign@gmail.com

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