Resurgence Festival of Wellbeing

Calling for a shift in focus - from Economic Growth to Growth in Wellbeing

Saturday 23 September 2017, 10am-6pm 

At St James’s Church, Piccadilly, London W1J 9LL 

Britain’s flagship green magazine Resurgence (now called Resurgence & Ecologist) has announced the line-up for the fifth Festival of Wellbeing to be held at St James’s Church, Piccadilly, London on Saturday 23 September (10am-6pm). 

 The event will emphasise the need to shift society’s emphasis from economic growth to growth in wellbeing, as Satish Kumar, Editor Emeritus of Resurgence & Ecologist, explains:  Satish Kumar 

“Over the past 50 years, governments, businesses, industrialists and economists have been stridently focused on economic growth, overlooking its fundamental purpose. The speakers and participants at the Festival of Wellbeing are coming together to question this notion of economic growth for its own sake and to address the ideal of growth in wellbeing. 

“Economic growth is only a means to an end, not an end in itself. We cannot have unlimited economic growth on a finite planet. Our focus must shift from economic growth, to growth in wellbeing. The present emphasis on economic growth at all costs is the cause of environmental pollution, resource depletion, climate change and waste, which puts huge stress on people and our planet Earth. The current system of economic growth doesn't solve the problem of poverty, inequality, and social injustice. Therefore, instead of economic growth, we need growth in human health and planetary sustainability.” 

 The day’s exciting talk highlights include: Satish Kumar’s elucidation of the interdependence of personal and planetary wellbeing; James Thornton, founding CEO of environmental lawyers ClientEarth, extols the Earth as our natural teacher and guide for creating an ecological civilisation; Siân Berry, Green Member of the London Assembly, explores solutions to the lack of safe, affordable housing in London; Paula Byrne, Chief Executive of ReLit (literature/mental health charity) promotes poetry as a bridge to wellbeing; James Sainsbury, Chairman of The Resurgence Trust, gives an overview of the charity’s work in support of wellbeing; and a talk by leading educationalist Sir Anthony Seldon explains the practical benefits of mindfulness. 

 In lively conversation sessions, Satish Kumar and Professor Tim Jackson (Director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity) discuss ‘Prosperity without Growth’; and Sharon Garfinkel (festival producer) talks to Ahmad Nawaz, a 16-year-old activist and survivor of a Taliban attack, about the role education can play in bringing peace to the world. 

Inspiring performances reflecting themes of the day include poetry by Imtiaz Dharker, Indian classical song and instrumentation by Jatinder Singh Durhaialy, a short play-reading by writer Maya Kumar Mitchell, and a stirring acoustic set from singer-songwriter Catty Pearson. 

James Thornton, founding CEO of ClientEarth, says:

 “I’m delighted and excited to be involved in this year’s festival, because the time is ripe to begin doing things differently. With geo politics in turmoil and much more going on around the world and in the UK which is of serious concern to the environment, it is clear that the motives of some and the actions of others need to be countered if we are to preserve our planet for future generations. When we talk about the importance of wellbeing it is not just for people, but for the planet too.” 

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