Festival of Wellbeing calls for a shift from Economic Growth to Growth in Wellbeing The Uk’s longest standing green magazine Resurgence (now called Resurgence & Ecologist) returns to London for its fifth Festival of Wellbeing, taking place at St James’s Church, Piccadilly on Saturday 23 September (10am-6pm). Satish Kumar, Editor Emeritus of Resurgence & Ecologist, says the event is calling for society to make a shift in emphasis from economic growth to growth in wellbeing. “Over the past 50 years, governments, businesses, industrialists and economists have been stridently focused on economic growth, overlooking its fundamental purpose,” Satish elucidates. “The speakers and participants at the Festival of Wellbeing are coming together to question this notion of economic growth for its own sake and to address the ideal of growth in wellbeing.
“Economic growth is only a means to an end, not an end in itself,” Satish continues. “We cannot have unlimited economic growth on a finite planet. Our focus must shift from economic growth, to growth in wellbeing. The present emphasis on economic growth at all costs is the cause of environmental pollution, resource depletion, climate change and waste, which puts huge stress on people and our planet Earth. The current system of economic growth doesn’t solve the problem of poverty, inequality, and social injustice. Therefore, instead of economic growth, we need growth in human health and planetary sustainability.” Satish Kumar will give a talk explaining the interdependence of personal and planetary wellbeing. Other speaker highlights include: James Thornton, founding CEO of environmental lawyers ClientEarth who will extol the Earth as our natural teacher and guide for creating an ecological civilisation; Siân Berry, Green Member of the London Assembly, exploring solutions to the lack of safe, affordable housing in London; Paula Byrne, Chief Executive of ReLit (literature/mental health charity) promoting poetry as a bridge to wellbeing; James Sainsbury, Chairman of The Resurgence Trust, giving an overview of the charity’s work in support of wellbeing; and a talk by leading educationalist Sir Anthony Seldon explaining the practical benefits of mindfulness.
In lively conversation sessions, Satish Kumar and Professor Tim Jackson (Director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity) discuss ‘Prosperity without Growth’; and Sharon Garfinkel (festival producer) talks to Ahmad Nawaz, a 16-year-old activist and survivor of a Taliban attack, about the role education can play in bringing peace to the world. James Thornton, founding CEO of ClientEarth, says: “I’m delighted and excited to be involved in this year’s festival, because the time is ripe to begin doing things differently. With geo politics in turmoil and much more going on around the world and in the UK which is of serious concern to the environment, it is clear that the motives of some and the actions of others need to be countered if we are to preserve our planet for future generations. When we talk about the importance of wellbeing it is not just for people, but for the planet too.” Inspiring performances reflecting themes of the day include poetry by Imtiaz Dharker, Indian classical song and instrumentation by Jatinder Singh Durhaialy, a short play-reading by writer Maya Kumar Mitchell, and a stirring acoustic set from singer-songwriter Catty Pearson. Festival tickets cost £45/£35 Concessions. For further information and to book visit: www.resurgence.org/wellbeing