The Economics of Happiness Conference is all about solutions to the biggest challenges of our times. In October 2018 we hosted the three day conference, and gathered together people with ideas and initiatives to build a healthier, happier, more peaceful and prosperous future.
If you want to live in an economy that produces flourishing lives on a thriving planet, this is the event for you. Strategists, activists and innovators from all walks of life who see more harm than good in ‘business as usual’ will gather to share their knowledge and experience. The programme details are here below.
Tickets are available for Friday here and Saturday here including concessionary and super concessionary rates to suit people’s means. If even these rates exclude you from attending, you can write to firstname.lastname@example.org with your request for additional support. Sunday’s event is ticketed (here), but free.
Friday 19th at The Foundation 3pm-5pm
1) Where’s the edge? Leadership and thinking skills for a wellbeing economy
Workshop with Mike Zeidler and Roger Higman Times of hardship can bring people together or drive them apart – at home, in work or in the community – the path they tread depends on how they think about the situation. This workshop explores the mindsets and practices which enhance internal and external partnership development, seeking gain whilst acknowledging losses. We’re after the greatest collaborative advantage.
2) How can we invest to produce greater wellbeing?
Presentation & debate with Ed Rowberry and Diana Finch This session will look at an emerging new ecosystem of financial initiatives presenting new ways to attract, find, use and retain money in a locally focused wellbeing economy. We’ll explore the increasingly attractive ways money can be invested for social, environmental and local returns.
St Georges 6-7:30pm
3) What role is there for big business in an Economics of Happiness?
Debate with Helena Norberg-Hodge, Andrew Garrad and Andy Street Governments everywhere have placed their faith in Big Business to help solve our problems and make us all prosperous – but dogged by criticism for exploitation, pollution, fraud, price-fixing, negligence and anti-democratic behaviours – do they have a place in an Economics of Happiness? This debate, chaired by CSR veteran Mike Zeidler, brings together three passionate leaders with different views about how business should respond to the local and global challenges we face in the 21st century.
Saturday 20th at Arnolfini 9am-6pm
Short plenary presentations and a discussion moderated by Jonathan Dimbleby
1) Why do we need Wellbeing Economics? – Liz Zeidler
What’s the point of an economy? If it’s growing and producing, what does it grow and what does it produce? Liz Zeidler describes world leading work supporting a radical practical shift towards an economy growing the wellbeing of people, place and planet. What could be different if at a local level but on a national and global scale – we use this new compass to drive decisions, and new tools to navigate a path to a more sustainable and equitable future? Liz will share insights from work across the UK to make this new economy a reality today.
2) Economics of Happiness – Helena Norberg-Hodge
Our current global economic system accelerates climate change, widens the gap between rich and poor, fractures communities and undermines personal identity. Helena champions localisation as an effective strategy for systemic change which can shrink ecological footprints, create jobs, lessen conflict and satisfy our need for connection. As a key player in the new economy movement, she brings news of inspiring alliances and initiatives which are emerging worldwide.
3) Cancel the Apocalypse – Andrew Simms
Andrew critiques the debt-based global economy, with evidence-based hope for a rapid transition to a healthier, more sustainable kind of economy that operates within ecological limits. Highlighting a blind spot for ecological and economic reality in mainstream media, he argues for new stories of policy-making possibility. With inspiring lessons from history about rapid change in the face of imminent crisis, he cites modern-day tales of communities working together in an ethos of public spirit, cooperation and mutual aid.
4) Localising Finance – Michael Shuman
Several decades of experience promoting localization have convinced Michael that the key to further progress is the localization of finance. Michael will share work he and others in North America have done – and continue to do – to overhaul securities, banking, and tax laws to facilitate local investing. Connecting these innovations with similar initiatives in Europe and worldwide is an essential next step.
5) Farming for People, not Profit – Colin Tudge
Small scale food production can feed the world. It is widely believed that industrial agriculture – with its huge monocultures, chemical inputs, GMO seeds and massive equipment – is the only way to feed the growing global population. Is this true? Colin Tudge will counter this myth and describe the many benefits of small-scale, diversified agriculture – including its ability to produce more food per unit of land than large-scale monocultures. He will explain the vital role food and farming play in connecting people to place and community and revitalising culture.
6) The Future of Cities – George Ferguson
55% of humanity lives in urban areas, so cities hold the future of our planet in their hands. Can we re-configure urban living in ways that promote flourishing lives on a thriving planet? Our panel will look at the ways citizens and governors are coming together to address this most urgent of problems.
Parallel interactive workshops
Workshop Session 1
1.a) A Local Future for our Towns and Cities
With George Ferguson and Peter Macfadyen ‘Does Community and City leadership need a greater focus on local character, people and resources? At a time of increasing globalisation with its tendency to clone high streets and car-dependent residential and commercial estates, what can be done to encourage local and independent initiatives and businesses to create a truly circular local economy? How can our schools and institutions play their part in assuring thriving communities and give preference to local sourcing? What model of community and city leadership is required?
1.b) What role does Culture play in defining and developing place?
With Andrew Kelly ‘Culture’ is both a product and a way of doing things. It is the heading we use to describe the ideas, customs, and achievements of a society. With over 25 years as a promoter and creator of cultural activity in Bristol, Andrew will share what he’s learned about the value of investing in stories of who we are.
1.c) What will Education look like for Tomorrow’s Leaders?
With Martin Parker, Sado Jirde and (by video) Chris Brink Universities shape the mindsets of those who come to power, so what are the roles and responsibilities of universities in relation to local economies? We have three fascinating insights into the ways higher education could respond better to the needs and demands of society. This session is relevant for anyone who champions leadership development – in education, business and the voluntary sector alike.
1.d) Bridging the Activism divide – can inclusion and Environmentalism win together?
With Zakiya McKenzie and Asher Craig Issues of social inclusion are mostly seen apart from environmental concerns – but both topics to be addressed to improve our overall wellbeing. This session looks for ways of helping passionate campaigners and activists see how their causes would benefit more from working together.
1.e) How can we change Money and Banking for good?
With David Clarke and Ed Rowberry The money system is currently stuck in a vicious cycle resulting in over-production, over-consumption and ever increasing debt. Concentrated financial power resists the public interest, so can the system be re-designed, and if so, what can we do about it? David Clarke will share the learning and progress Positive Money have recently been making to switch the system from it’s vicious existence to a virtuous one that is fair, democratic and sustainable.
Workshop Session 2
2.a) Big Picture Activism: beyond single issues and left-right politics
With Helena Norberg-Hodge and Anja Lyngbaek Today, as we face a seemingly endless series of crises, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. But seeing how our problems- from depression to climate change- are fundamentally linked to our economy can be deeply empowering. Decades of failure to adopt a big picture approach have led to a focus on down-stream solutions and left us firefighting in all directions. However, in recent years, many individuals and organizations involved in separate campaigns have begun to embrace a holistic approach that moves beyond single issues. A big picture, broad analysis is beginning to build a broad, united movement for fundamental change. We owe it to ourselves and our children to join this movement for systemic change.
2.b) What can we do NOW to move to a Wellbeing Economy?
With Liz Zeidler & Wren Aigaki-Lander The Happy City Team will share their decades of combined experience in supporting individuals, organisations and places to shift to using a wellbeing compass. After a whistle stop tour of the new ways to measure prosperity and growth, the workshop will explore how these are being used around the UK and beyond to deliver practical change at every level of society.
2.c) Forum on the Future of Food – Part 1
With Colin Tudge, Maddy Harland and Tracy Worcester Local food initiatives are springing up around the globe, demonstrating more productive and sustainable alternatives to big agribusiness. Government policies, wedded to growth through trade, are distancing us further and further from the sources of our food. As the distance between the farm and plate grows, so does the size of vast monocultures and animal factories. Localising, or shortening the distance, is key in that it encourages diversification. And small diversified farms produce more food per acre than large monocultures. In two consecutive food sessions, we highlight the central role of food and farming in building fair and sustainable economies. We will examine what it takes to create thriving food systems: from enlightened food policies to the production, distribution and retailing of healthy local foods. We will address the main obstacles and explore how we can overcome them. You will hear from a range of voices about progressive food policy plans, land-access schemes, investment in local food, training for sound farming, inspiring local food initiatives, and about the vast international farmers movements that are standing up to agribusiness and paving the way for sound agriculture and dignified livelihoods.
2.d) How can we improve relations between `Mainstream and Minority groups?
With Roger Griffith and Asher Craig In this session, we’ll eavesdrop on a conversation between 6 people with a passion for inclusion. We’ll hear about the challenges of working against the odds, sources of resilience and inspiration and ways of prompting more receptive relationships between groups of significantly different sizes.
2.e) Local Ethical Investment, Banking and Trade: where people and planet come before profit
With Michael Shuman and Diana Finch Most savings in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, pension funds and life insurance are tied up in transnational banks and investment schemes that play havoc with the health and wellbeing of people and planet. Yet, an inspiring counter-trend of ethical local investment and banking is underway. It goes way beyond divestment from dirty industries, all the way into the currency of positive social and environmental change. Join this session if you’d like some positive financial news for change!
2.f) Visual Pollution
With Nicola Round, Robbie Gillett and Benoit Bennet How can art challenge the dominance of corporate advertising in public spaces, and create a vision for a happier city where the economy works for people, not corporations? Join Nicola Round and Robbie Gillett, organisers of Adblock Bristol and Benoit Bennet for a look at how advertising influences us without our consent, and how art can be a powerful force for social change. ____________________
Workshop Session 3
3.a) Networking for the Common Good
With Stewart Wallis, Naresh Giagrande and Anja Lyngbaek. Meet 3 key initiatives that are building bridges between different sectors and cultures in order to transform the economy for the common good: The International Alliance for Localisation, started in 2012, a network of individuals and groups from 58 countries, linked by the conviction that strengthening local economies worldwide is the way forward. CTRL Shift Summit, a UK initiative that brought a cross-sector of people together in Wigan in 2017 to explore a shared agenda for shifting power from Westminster and multinational corporations, to people and communities across Britain. Wellbeing Economy Alliance, a new global initiative that seeks to connect and convene businesses, faith groups, academia, civil society and governments around an agenda that looks beyond economic growth and towards wellbeing.
3.b) How can we move from Mental Health to Mental Wealth?
With Bruce Hood and Patrick Robinson. Current economic conventions include drivers of depression, currently wreaking havoc in society. Caring for 2m+ students in the UK, Universities are in the front line, seeking to inoculate their organisations against the costly epidemic of this condition. Bruce will explain how he’s building it into the curriculum at Bristol University alongside Patrick, who will share the ways Burges Salmon are responding as a company inside and out.
3.c) Forum on the future of food – Part 2
With Colin Tudge, Maddy Harland, Tracy Worcester, Angela Raffle and Anja Lyngbaek. Local food is spearheading a broad localisation movement that holds the key to a new economy. The group will dig deeper into the ways smallholders are significant to food sovereignty, food security and fossil fuel divestment, with examples from successful local food strategies and initiatives.
3.d) Empowering Youth in the age of the consumer culture
With Mary Daniels Around the world, there is an epidemic of depression and self-destructive behaviour among youth. Mary Daniels offers a powerful message to counter these trends. Her story of “waking up” just before wanting to end her own life has inspired thousands of young people around Britain to reconsider their own lives. Mary will share from her vast training and mentoring experience at schools across the country, about how to foster self-respect, resilience and conscious leadership for physical and mental health and wellbeing”.
3.e) What values drive behaviour change?
With Chloe Hardy Unleash your power – The Social Change Project has been exploring how people are trying to strengthen civil society in the UK today. With many examples of ambitious, bold and transformational initiatives involved, the research has produced rich results. Chloe Hardy will share the findings of the project to date, introducing the ‘Social Change Grid’ and 12 habits of successful change-makers.
Final presentation and closing plenary
1) Gaian Economics
With Stephen Harding Stephan explains how modern civilisation – built on the cultivation of self- centeredness and ‘freedom of choice’ within an economic system addicted to growth – has provided some short-term material benefits but has been immensely damaging to our planet as a whole. He believes the alienation of the human psyche from nature is a crucial feature of our times and we urgently need to awaken our ‘ecological self’ – enabling us to reconnect with nature, the foundation of physical and mental wellbeing.
Sunday 21st Oct at Tobacco Factory 10:30am-12pm
1) Strength in numbers: How local businesses can support each other and enrich their local communities
With George Ferguson & Jamie Pike This session explores the benefits of looking for collaborative rather than competitive advantage when you’re running a local business. The Bristol Beer Factory, Canteen, Grain Barge, Mark’s Bread, No 1 Harbourside, Harbourside Markets, 5 Acre Farm, The Assembly Bakery, Tobacco Factory and Tobacco Factory Theatres have built up relationships which not only help them survive and prosper, but also improve conditions in their local communities. It’s not always plain sailing, but it’s well worth the effort. George Ferguson and Jamie Pike, share their personal experiences on this rewarding journey.
For more details go to www.economicsofhappiness2018.
We hope you can make it