We started this blog last October to discuss the converging crises of climate change, peak oil and recession, and the huge social upheaval that those problems are creating. We wanted to show that not only are these crises interlinked – that is, they have the same or related underlying causes – but also that the same is true of the solutions. For example, a Green New Deal would not only tackle climate change, it would wean us off a depleting oil supply and create jobs and restore economic stability. Similarly, creating policies which enhance personal and social well-being will not only enhance our lives, but also liberate us from patterns of consumption that damage the environment. Saving the Post Office will protect small businesses, create jobs, help build low-carbon communities and benefit people on low-incomes. The list could go on.
What we’ve tried to do, in other words, is create a much bigger picture of the various challenges we face. Something which, as Stewart Wallis wrote in his dispatch from the World Economic Forum in Davos, our politicians and business leaders are still failing to see. We’ve also tried to stress that while the triple crunch is a frankly terrifying prospect, there remains the opportunity for positive change.
This October, nef will be bringing this same ethos of vision and opportunity to a major series of public events, under the banner The Bigger Picture. We’ll be hosting discussions, actions and exhibitions, ending with a major “festival of interdependence” in London on October 24th 2009 . The festival will bring together artists, thinkers, activists and you for a day of learning, making, celebrating and debating, about how we can start the Great Transition to a new economy. Best of all, the festival will be completely free.
We’ve got a fantastic range of partner organisations – including ActionAid, 350.org, Real Bread Campaign and the Centre for Sustainable Fashion – and over twenty-five speakers, including Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett (authors of The Spirit Level), John Sauven (Greenpeace), Rosie Boycott (London Food), Oliver James (author of The Selfish Capitalist), Paul Kingsnorth (author of Real England) and Susie Orbach (author of Fat is Feminist Issue), as well as nef‘s Andrew Simms, Stewart Wallis and Anna Coote.
And in case you’re thinking that this sounds suspiciously like a conference, you might like to know that the festival will involve not just listening to experts, but debating, discussing, storytelling, re-skilling, music, art, activism, film screenings, kite-making, bee keeping and probably a nice big picnic.
We’ve made a little website to display all this information, and to keep people updated about new developments. Have a look at http://thebiggerpicture2009.org/