Raising the voices for transformational change

It’s been a while between posts from me. I have been working in the background on magazine and journal articles, more writing, conferences and forums, and I am doing a slab of work for the local municipal government.

This week, however, is a busy one in terms of international forums. I am participating in two really exciting ones that seek to open up dialogue on various voices for transformational change towards the Good Life in its many forms.

The first coming up this Thursday 30 June is the International Forum for the Good Life/Forum international pour le bien vivre in Grenoble, France, from 29 June to 1 July (Saint-Martin-d’Hères Campus).

The theme is ‘Heading towards a fair and sustainable society’ and the forum will bring together some amazing presentations and keynotes , citizens’ initiatives, scientific reflections, debates and concrete actions from France and elsewhere. See the program here. I will be presenting my research on Buen Vivir and the role of different actors. Registration is still open and free to students of all kinds, as well as French citizens and journalists.

The next day, I will be presenting at the people’s global summit ‘Co-Building a New Eco-Social World: Leaving No One Behind’.

The Summit was initiated by the UNRISD and IFSW to act as a catalyst to develop new local ideas and global values around the values of Buen Vivir, Respect, Diversity, and Ubuntu.

There’s a stellar program with the opening ceremony welcome by UN Secretary General Antonio Gutiérrez, and: 24 keynote sessions, 16 live panels, blogs, dances, academic findings, interviews, poetry and more.

The People Charter session will provide the opportunity to contribute to the development of the People Charter that will be submitted to the world’s leaders as they gather at the 2022 United Nations High-Level Political Forum. My 30 Buen Vivir session is on 1 July at 21:00 UTC, but video access will be available until the end of the summit. The People’s Global Summit will be interactive for 24 hours each day from 29 June to 2 July 2022 to let people participate from all time zones. Choose what you pay registration is available to provide equitable access to people everywhere – register here. A copy of the contribution is available as a downloadable book here.

Why are these types of forums, conferences and summits important? Because we are slowly seeing a shift towards alternative approaches to different social and environmental aspects of development. The IPCC, along with many scholars, community groups, people from different parts of the globe and even policymakers have called for a transformation of our social, economic and ecological systems, so that there may be some hope for future generations. Global forums like these provide a voice to otherwise marginalized groups who have vital contributions to sustain the health of our planet and its people. We have an opportunity to learn and a responsibility to act differently.

The momentum is here.

If we return to the old normal the recent challenges to the environment everywhere since the beginning of the pandemic, what have we learnt? The time has come, as Ateljevic rightly argues, to “mainstream previously marginalised ideas…To potentially move what was considered either radical, over positive or naïve into the centre of (y)our attention and (y)our consideration.”

Eisentein said, “During this great pause, we could potentially embrace the holistic paradigms and practices that have been waiting on the margins. In our humbled state, we could bring them into the centre and build a new system around them (Eisenstein, 2020).”

The need for change has never been more urgent, nor more desired!

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