In 2002/3 John Jopling and I wrote
Redefining Globalisation and People-Power
This site introduces its key ideas and some associated topics
Leading the Gaian Revolution: Commonsense for Desperate Times
Gaian Democracies: Redefining Globalisation & People-Power by Roy Madron & John Jopling
The word feasta (pronounced fasta) is taken from an old Irish poem that laments the decimation of the forests. It means ‘in the future’ and Feasta sees itself as a collective thinking process about that future.
The organisation was launched in Dublin in October 1998 to explore the economic, cultural and environmental characteristics of a truly sustainable society - and to disseminate the results of this exploration to the widest relevant audience.
The position Feasta has adopted is that many of the world’s problems are caused not by bad people but by dysfunctional systems and it sees its purpose as designing better systems. For example, the economic system demands continual growth if it is not to collapse into a catastrophic depression, and this leaves politicians with little alternative but to pursue short-term economic growth more-or-less regardless of the damage that that pursuit might be doing to longer-term environmental and social sustainability.
Feasta has spent a lot of time examining the reasons for this growth compulsion to see if an economic system can be devised without it. Feasta has also looked at money systems, taxation systems, rationing systems, land tenure systems and democratic systems and come up with ideas for these.
Our definition of sustainability is that a society is sustainable if it can expect to survive for several hundreds of years without being forced to change because it is currently destroying or undermining something on which its survival crucially depends. That is not to say that such a society would not change, just that it does not expect to have to do so as a result of its own activities. Indeed, to be sustainable, a society has to be able to change because the environment in which the society finds itself might change itself and the society needs to be able to adjust to that. Beyond this, Feasta has no dogma. We have no party line. We welcome differences of opinion among our members because diversity is crucial if our thinking is to evolve.
While most of Feasta’s members live in Ireland, people from other countries have joined because they have found that its form of “hard sustainability” is not being discussed in any depth in their own circles. This has turned the organisation into an international network with an Irish office and efforts are currently being made to reflect this more in the way we are structured and in our activities. We are trying to change Feasta from being a place-based body to one which is of equal value to its members wherever they happen to live in the world.
Our thinking is normally carried out through working groups which form to explore a topic. Often a project, such as organising a conference, brings a group together. Some groups start, run for a year or so and then go dormant when their goal has been achieved. Others are active for longer although they will go through phases, as their members’ interests and circumstances change. In our earlier years, these groups tended to meet in person, usually once a month, but increasingly the discussions are carried out by e-mail, with groups developing their own e-lists.
How we work and what we do
Feasta consciously designed itself to be non-hierarchical and have a flat system of governance, with the minimum passing through the office. Almost every activity has started because someone was enthusiastic about a particular topic and was prepared to work on a project unpaid, at least until funding could be found. Feasta’s role, and thus that of the Executive Committee and the office, is to enable these people, or groups of people, to do things which they would find it harder to accomplish on their own. Part of this role entails putting them in touch with people with similar interests who might like to get involved.
• GAIAN SYSTEMS • LIBERATING LEADERSHIP • PARTICIPATORY SYSTEMS CHANGE • PAULO FREIRE'S LEARNING PRINCIPLES • SHARED PURPOSES AND PRINCIPLES • SOFT SYSTEMS •
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NOTE: THE UPDATE OF THIS SITE WILL TAKE UNTIL AUGUST 2008 TO COMPLETE
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Roy Madron 2008