SAC # 92

The Growth Paradigm: Where did it come from, what maintains it, and how do we escape it?



TIME | 19 August 2010, 4pm onwards

LOCATION | CSAFE Seminar Room, , Dunedin

SPEAKER | Lin Roberts


Human population and per capita consumption have been growing exponentially for nearly 250 years, to the point that many resource and ecosystem limits are being met or exceeded. During this period most modern economic theory, philosophy, policies and practices, and monetary systems were developed, and many of these have either an implicit assumption or an inbuilt requirement that growth will continue. As Richard Eckersley has pointed out, the traditional seven deadly sins – pride, greed, envy, lust, laziness and so on – have been re-packaged as the marketing imperatives of the modern world to help push increasing consumption. Despite building evidence that further erosion of ecosystem support systems is likely to lead to societal collapse and that a focus on consumption and materialism harms rather than increases well-being, we are hooked in so many ways into a world view that growth is good that we find it hard to consider any alternatives. In this seminar I will examine the various contributors to the “growth is good” world view, the structures and systems that maintain it in face of contrary evidence, how it plays out in the New Zealand especially in the primary production scene, often impeding more profitable and ecological alternatives, and invite discussion about what might be the most effective (& quickest without disaster) ways of shifting the world view to one better connected to physical/biological/social reality.

About the Speaker

Dr Lin Roberts is an Adjunct Senior Fellow at University of Canterbury where she teaches an MBA paper “Sustainable enterprises – creating the future” and an Adjunct Senior Lecturer at Lincoln University where she teaches a Masters paper “Advanced Environmental Management Systems”. For the last sixteen years her sustainability consultancy has been helping a wide range of organisations incorporate sustainability principles into strategy, practices and culture. She has served on the Environmental Risk Management Authority, on the boards of The Natural Step New Zealand and TNS International and as the CEO of TNS NZ 2004-2007. Before this she was a senior manager at Ministry for the Environment and before that a scientist at DSIR Entomology Division involved in biological control and integrated pest management.


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