Report by Francisco Dinis with Robert Green
The Prout Research Institute – Portugal (PRIP) in partnership with Future Planet Europe and CICS.NOVA – (Centro Interdisciplinar de Ciências Sociais) co-organized a flagship conference entitled, “A New Vision for Europe; Systems Change and Sustainability” earlier this year from 28 February to 1 March. More than 250 people attended the event held at Nova Lisbon University, in Lisbon.
The six conference sessions focused on questions related to systems change such as: How can we create a better economic and environmental deal for Europe? How can we facilitate markets so that both people and the planet thrive? Specific topics included:
1.The New Economy for Europe: What does it look like and how do we get there?
2. The Role of Ethics in Economics and Politics
3. The Conditions Needed for Effective Systems Change
4. Economics and the Environment: preventing collapse and creating an economy rooted in the sacred and ecology.
Among the many noteworthy speakers were noted economist Erik Reinert, Professor at Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia ; James Quilligan, analyst in international economic development; Helena Norberg-Hodge, pioneer of the local economy movement; Gil Penha Lopes, nature-based designer; and Roar Bjonnes, co-author of Growing a New Economy.
Interestingly, this was certainly one of the, if not the, last ‘live’ conference held in Portugal. The dates were just prior to the mandated Covid-19 lockdown and restrictions, a seemingly perfect prelude to the deeply felt and widely perceived need for deeper systems change, and greater decentralization and democratization of the economy.
The conference continued two full days followed by a more hands-on interactive Sunday afternoon session entitled: Creating Systems Change: The Future We Want Now. Attended by about 60 highly motivated participants from variety of progressive movements and causes, facilitators led group work using cooperative methodologies to create a closer network and work toward more tangible results.
A follow on conference entitled, Systems Change through Bioregional Economies will be held at September 23-26, 2021 at the University of Beira Interior (UBI), Covilhã, Portugal.