DATE: 9 December 2011, 9:30 – 16:00
PLACE: Palace of Fine Arts, Rue Ravenstein 23, Brussels
LANGUAGE: English, Dutch, French
What could the economy of the future look like? Instead of focusing on technical issues, the conference “Running on empty” wants to introduce new concepts and ideas and some striking examples that help to make clear that our current economic system has become outdated.
The working title Running on empty: Earth Ltd. illustrates the starting point of the discussion: while global demand for natural resources is expected to continue to rise, the availability of several resources will become critical. The challenge is especially relevant for Europe, the continent that is the highest net importer of resources. Although the European Commission has initiated The Raw Materials Initiative aimed at tackling exactly this issue, Greens and other progressive voices have made clear that this initiative lacks sufficient ambition.
The conference will also address potential answers to this fundamental challenge. These answers will have to go beyond making the current economic system (production-distribution-consumption) a little more efficient. We are already using the equivalent of 1,5 planets to provide the resources and to absorb the waste that is needed to sustain the current system. In a business as usual scenario we will need more than two planets by the mid-2030s to continue with our lifestyles. This fundamental change is not only about production processes and consumer behaviour. It requires a new mindset for our relationship with the Earth we live on.