What does a “post growth” future look like?

Yesterday I wrote about why Appropedia has “rich” in its mission statement. Today, Donnie Maclurcan has written a much more eloquent post on the kind of prosperity and the kind of future we are committed to: Post Growth Futures Are Here. I won’t quote from it – I recommend reading it in full. If you need a shot of optimism, read it, bookmark it and ask how you can help bring this future about.

You’ll notice a hint there, about the new Post Growth Institute project, How, on Earth. Stay tuned – we’re looking forward to an exciting and major collaboration.

Why “rich” and sustainable?

An Australian friend looked closely at the front page of Appropedia and saw:

Sharing knowledge to build rich, sustainable lives.

He said “Oh, rich – you got that American thing happening.” When I stopped laughing, I told him why we use the word rich.

In developing countries, we’ve sometimes found a perception that sustainability is being foist upon them, to block them from having wealth like that of wealthy nations. Something like, The rich folk are already rich, and we want to be like them, but now they’re telling us we have to be “sustainable” instead. You can imagine the resentment. This isn’t entirely imagined, either – think of the worry about the impact of many Indians driving efficient micro-cars, when we the wealthy world’s job is to worry about the multiple enormous cars belonging to families in our own communities (and to think about the kind of leadership, the kind of “wealth” we’re modeling).

That’s not the sustainability we want. Appropedia stands for a fair and just sustainability. Moreover, we know that with the appropriate choices in technology and design, with access to medical care, with water, sanitation and transport, richer lives are possible. A small, well-designed passive solar house is a pleasure to live in – superior to a poorly designed mansion. Healthy soils yield fresh, abundant, delicious food. This is the prosperity we’re talking about.

These are the riches we envision for the world.