Feasta’s activities are based around a number of themes.
The Risk-Resilience Network’s focus is on how to protect our welfare given existing and coming constraints (e.g. food security, energy and governance). It investigates the relationship between the complexity (interdependence, speed of processes, concentration) and de-localisation of the globalised economy and our vulnerability to systemic shocks and chronic stresses. Recent reports include Catastrophic Shocks Through Complex Socio-Economic Systems:A Pandemic Perspective, which is based on a paper by David Korowicz that was commissioned by USAID and presented in Manila in January 2013.
Feasta’s Climate Group has developed the theoretical underpinning for the Cap and Share campaign, which is proposing a system for cutting greenhouse gas emissions that should be reliable, equitable and bring about a reduction in global poverty. The 2012 book Sharing for Survival: Restoring the Climate, and Commons and Society is a collection of essays by 9 climate group members which take as their premise that the climate is a type of commons which belongs to everyone, and that climate policy should reflect that.
The Climate Group holds an annual gathering with a particular focus. The 2013 gathering was held in Winchester in the UK. Participants explored the possibility of using legal action as a way to hold fossil fuel companies to account and enforce caps on emissions.
The Liquidity Network aims to address the current liquidity problem – the slow-down in economic activity triggered by the credit crunch. It forms part of Feasta’s wider Currency Group which hosts a lively Facebook discussion group with 95 members from around the world. The group’s current interests include the development of innovative capital financing options for renewable energy projects with the goal of avoiding the burden of compound interest and redirecting the 45% saved into more productive first use; and the visualisation of data to add impactful insight to the flow of money in a specific sub-economy.
The Food Security group currently has several ongoing projects. One is to deliver an effective qualitative measure that accounts for the quality of the food in relation to the environmental efficiency under which it is produced. A second project is to develop and work on a Food Plan, including emergency planning within the context of peak oil and possible economic collapse in the near term. Thirdly, the group supports ongoing research for increasing biological productivity.
Earlier Feasta projects include Smart Taxes, which has the aim of developing policy options to reform fiscal and other financial and monetary mechanisms in Ireland so as to deliver environmental, social and economic sustainability, and Carbon Cycles and Sinks, whose goal is to develop policies which will enable the Irish land mass to become a carbon sink rather than a source of greenhouse emissions.
In the years since its inception, Feasta has organised a wide range of events, including seminars, international conferences and workshops. You can read about these in more detail on our events section. You can also download videos of many of our lectures and seminars from our multimedia page.
We have also published various books and briefings concerning the environment and economics. These are all available for free download from this website, as are a series of submissions we have made to the Irish and UK governments.
Within Ireland Feasta also engages in the Irish Environmental Network (IEN) and the Environmental Pillar of Social Partnership.
The IEN is an organisation which was set up to distribute funding (mostly from the Environment fund) to member organisations. It also helps organisations to increase their capacity by training, helping with media work and facilitating cooperation on various pieces of work, and acts as a support on issues of relevance to many or all organisations (for example it campaigned successfully for the natural environment to be included in the National Lottery Bill, and will engage in relation to the new Lobbying Bill.)
The Pillar is a structure whereby a range of national environmental NGOs cooperate together on policy issues according to their interests. Feasta has been involved in the Environmental Pillar’s Climate and Energy Working Group. The group has been engaging in 2013 particularly in the process for the development of a Climate Change Bill. It has also been discussing the international negotiations and proposing that Ireland builds on the work started with the UNEP Building the Climate Change Regime project. Upcoming work includes reacting to the European Commission’s proposals for the international climate regime from 2020 and for developing EU targets for 2030.