Claiming Our Future - National Assembly Calls for a New Localism
Monday 07 November 2011, 10am
A national event held in Cork’s Millennium Hall on Saturday has called for a new focus on local economies. This was identified as the key level from which to develop alternatives to current economic policy. Initiatives are now required to maximize the level of food, energy and well-being services generated by local networks.
Claiming our Future in association with PlanBetter organised the event on Saturday. Two hundred and fifty people participated in this national debate. The debate focused on the need to build an economy that would serve society and the environment.
“The current economic structure is based on false accounting, serving neither the environment nor society. It is built on resource misuse, high levels of unemployment and diminished public services. It is an economy where commitments made to address climate change are reneged on. This is why we need build support for an alternative” said Niall Crowley, one of the Claiming our Future organisers.
Participants identified that the search for economic growth as a resolution to the current crisis will do no more than lead us into the next crisis – the environmental crisis. They emphasised that growth must be robustly regulated to ensure environmental sustainability and to achieve social cohesion.
There was a strong consensus articulated that change in our approach to development was not possible without political reform. New forms of democracy are needed to enable a wider participation in the decision making that is shaping our future.
“We need alternatives to the current approach to economic policy, and the state has a key role to play in this. It should enhance local economies, further develop the services it provides, and regulate the national economy to stop it damaging the environment and society” said James Nix of PlanBetter.
There was a call from the event to redefine what we mean by prosperity. Prosperity needs to be defined in terms of health, participation, well-being and community - rather than just money and possessions. The meeting concluded that new ways must be found of measuring progress in terms of social inclusion and environmental sustainability that move beyond the current narrow focus of GDP.
Participants called for the values of equality, environmental sustainability and participation to underpin economic policy. They highlighted the key contribution of civil society organisations to building and demonstrating support for these values.
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Claiming our Future is a social movement promoting equality, environmental sustainability and participation. It involves individuals and organizations from the full spectrum of civil society – including community groups, environmental groups and trade unions. It was established in October 2010 at an assembly in the RDS in Dublin. One of the priority policy challenges identified at this event was the need to promote a model of development that would achieve economic security and social and environmental sustainability.