Workshop at Climate Camp 2009: Happiness and Growth

Happiness and Growth: can we have both?

In a workshop on the theme of Happiness and Growth at this year’s Camp for Climate Action in Blackheath, Caroline Lucus, MEP and Leader of the Green Party and Saamah Abdullah, Researcher on wellbeing from the New Economics Foundation, talked of the urgency of taking action. Over 300,000 people are already dying each year as a direct result of climate change (from a report by the Global Humanitarian Forum, led by Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary-General).

Caroline suggested a few reasons for this current lack of action:

  • corporate/vested interest (Big Business has vast lobbying capacity)

  • failure to imagine an alternative (to the capitalist growth economy)

  • psychology of dealing with climate change (what stops people acting – often fear)

She suggested that in fact, the changes we need to make will increase our well-being. For example, using the car less can improve your health, leisure time and money. Growth of the economy, on the other hand, will lead to increased emmissions.

Caroline urged the audience to attend a screening of the film The Age of Stupid!

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