Lasting Impressions from the Sustainable Economics Workshop

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Sustainable Economics Workshop, Kalikalos (June 2013)

With the community cooking and cleaning, the mountain walks, the beach learning sessions, the deep conversations, and the general atmosphere of people coming together to share a place and an experience, we were truly living the gift economy, if only for a week. 

I still feel the rich sense of community that was created in only a week by total strangers at the Sustainable Economics workshop.

Sitting at my computer here in Athens, the fresh scents of greenery growing all around and the seascape just out my window seem so far away.  Fortunately, all of the thoughts and feelings that the workshop and my stay at Kalikalos generated in me are fresh.

It was a week’s worth of in-depth, hands-on training in a micro sustainable economy.  This training rejuvenated me and left me better prepared to greet the challenges of life in a city that’s the epicenter of an enormous economic crisis.

Jonathan and his daughter sharing with the group

At the workshop, facilitated by the brilliant Jonathan Dawson of Schumacher College, we of course talked about the key concepts of sustainable economics.  We talked about the ecological limits to economic growth.   Jonathan introduced the main factors that create the imperative for economies to grow.

It’s a big aha moment when you realize that our economy that’s designed to grow forever cannot last much longer on a planet that doesn’t have the resources to support that growth.

All the while, Jonathan kept our spirits up with examples of solutions that are already being put into action, some of which have been around for a long time.  There’s actually so much going right, even after learning about all of the difficulties we face, it’s hard not to be excited about the sustainable economies that are emerging.

I was very impressed not only with Jonathan’s teaching styles, which incorporated many movement-oriented exercises to help our bodies learn  what our minds were processing, but also his approach to the subject matter, which always kept a focus on the positive things that are happening and the complexity involved in the issues at hand.  I very much appreciated his ability to zoom in and out of the subject, from a very detailed view of monetary systems to the expanded context of the evolution of economics.

Jennifer draws a causal loop system with the group at the beach

Although Jonathan brought the main framework for the workshop and guided us along it, he allowed for the group to really explore and dig into the ideas and the feelings that our discussions about sustainable economics brought up.  I was extremely moved by the amount of honesty, empathy, open-mindedness and compassion that I experienced at the workshop and Kalikalos every day, all day long.

With the community cooking and cleaning, the mountain walks, the beach learning sessions, the deep conversations, and the general atmosphere of people coming together to share a place and an experience, we were truly living the gift economy, if only for a week.

I can’t wait to see what the proposed Occupy Money workshop (which will hopefully take place on or around September 6-13) has in store.  I’m so excited about another opportunity to create community in a setting where we’re all learning more about the important issues of money and economics from each other.   My friend, Andrea Bonetti, and I will be offering systems thinking tools that help us think and act more holistically.  Hope to see you there!

by Jennifer Hinton

If this post has piqued your interest, and you are considering attending a future event at Kalikalos, please get in touch!

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