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.
We need to shift from three to One Planet Living across Europe, in a way that is inclusive and creates sustainable prosperity for all. But what will this look like and how can we achieve it? Must we divest just from fossil fuel reserves that we can't afford to burn or from the much wider linear 'extractive' economy that this supports? And what does a ‘circular economy’ look like beyond producing less waste? These issues will be the focus of a Green House public discussion event in London on 5 November. 'How do we shift from an extractive to a circular economy?' brings together analysts and activists for an interactive discussion that aims to join up not only some of the key debates within the green movement - divestment and renewables, resource use and recycling, inclusivity and social and political cohesion – but also some of the hitherto isolated ideas and examples emerging in different European countries and regions. It is funded by the Green European Foundation, and speakers include Prof. Molly Scott Cato, MEP; Prof. Andy Cumbers, Glasgow University; Rebecca Newsom, Fossil Free SOAS; Roderick Kefferpütz, European Parliament; and Jane Stephenson, Resource Futures. The event is free to attend, but numbers are limited so please register early to ensure a place.
Focusing now on the narrower but currently turbulent world of UK party politics, we are pleased to report that following the election of Jeremy Corbyn to the leadership of the Labour Party, Green House held a meeting in Brighton on 29 September in the fringes of the Labour Party Conference to discuss the prospects for a 'progressive alliance' for green and radical politics in the UK. Leading Green thinkers and activists were joined by others from the Labour and LibDem parties, and by political analysts with no party affiliation, to search for common ground - and for unbridgeable ravines - on such issues as election pacts, a constitutional convention and a joint 'progressive' agenda. Sufficient common ground was discovered to enable everyone to agree on a further meeting which will consider concrete proposals for cooperation. The nature of UK party politics means that the discussions have to remain private for now; but Corbyn's election tells us not least that party politics is not as immutable as it sometimes seems, so watch this space.
Can these two Green House events be linked? Well, Corbyn's unexpected rise has led many people to revisit some basic issues in politics, including whether capitalism in its current form is the best possible system and whether it can survive. Green House's Victor Anderson puts current developments in long-term perspective in The Fall of Neoliberalism. In this new Green House Gas, he analyses the limitations of the current version of capitalism and looks at what its weaknesses imply for radical politics. The focus here is particularly on the two largest dysfunctional economic sectors, which are now creating massive problems for capitalism as a whole: finance and fossil fuels. Victor's analysis looks ahead to the development of a realistic political strategy - in which green, socialist and other movements learn from each other's ideas - to move society on to a more sensible way of arranging things. Download The Fall of Neoliberalism here (pdf, 374 K).
Revisiting unexamined assumptions is also the motivation behind a new Gas by Green House’s Ann Pfeiffer, which asks What do the Sustainable Development Goals mean for the UK? ‘Development’ has long been assumed to be what we in the rich countries have, and what the poorer countries need – the kind of tautological non-definition which it is almost impossible to contest. But the UN’s SDGs will be ‘universally applicable to all countries’, regardless of their level of development. The SDGs are intended to embody a shared vision of progress towards a safe, just and –most of all – sustainable space in which all of us can thrive on the planet. So they offer a welcome opportunity to question not just our policy on international aid but our fundamental assumptions about political and economic ends and means. And as our government has signed up to them, they also offer an unmissable opportunity to hold our rulers to account. You can download the essay here (pdf, 231 K)
The 'Post-Growth Project' has been the main focus of our work over the last two years. The main reports published to date (which are also available to download as PDFs from our Publications pages) have been brought together in a book published in October 2014, which can be ordered here. More information on the project can be found on the dedicated website page in the menu on the left.
Molly Scott Cato has written an article on the project and the resulting book for the Green European Journal: see here.
You can also order this book, and order or download all of our Reports, Responses and Gases, from the Publications pages of this website, 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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Green House will deliver a presentation on 'Development without Growth?' in the Lunchtime Seminar series at the renowned Institute for Development Studies at the University of Sussex in Brighton on 27 November. Full details will be available soon on this website.
Green House now has a video channel hosted by Vimeo featuring recordings of, or extracts from, various events Green House has organised or participated in. The channel is constantly growing so please make sure you get all the latest updates by clicking on 'follow'. You can access the channel here.
You can now download our Annual Report for 2014-15 from the Publications page of this website.