Feasta’s activities are based around a number of themes, all of which are inter-connected. For a broad overview of the relationship between our different activities and our overall mission, please see our Theory of Change. Our most recent Annual Report summarises our activities in the calendar year 2020.
In 2021 we launched a new season of our podcast series Bridging the Gaps in partnership with the European Health Futures Forum, with a plan for ten episodes covering a range of Feasta-related topics. This is a follow-up to our successful 2020 Bridging the Gaps series, and our 2019 podcast series Beyond the Obvious.
Feasta’ Well-being Group has the aim of developing alternatives to GDP as a measure of wellbeing, in collaboration with the FEST institute and Albert Weber institute. In mid-2020 Feasta joined the global Wellbeing Economy Alliance, and Group members are helping to form a Wellbeing Economy Hub for Ireland. In partnership with the Cork Environmental Forum, the Group organised a webinar on June 5 2020 entitled “Beyond GDP: Governance and Budgeting for Well-being”. The webinar featured speakers from the Welsh government, the Irish Central Statistics Office and the FEST Institute in Germany, and there were around 150 attendees. In February 2021, Group member Seán Ò Conláin was nominated by the Environmental Pillar to be its representative in a Stakeholder and Experts Group that was formed by the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) in relation to the Irish Government’s development of a comprehensive Well-being Framework for Ireland.
The Climate group has a active members in Britain and the U.S.A. as well as Ireland and other countries. The main focus of its work in 2021 is the Cap and Share initiative, a system for eliminating fossil fuel use over the next three decades while promoting social justice and equity. Cap and Share provides the framework for our CapGlobalCarbon initiative. This is a proposal for non-governmental actors to create a new global system to (a) make sure the necessary reductions in total global carbon emissions are achieved and (b) do so in a way that reduces poverty and inequality. The system would operate as a back-up to the inter-governmental negotiations. CapGlobalCarbon was launched at the COP-21 in 2015.
The climate group has made a series of submissions over the past few years to Ireland, the European Commission and the United States government. These submissions made a case for Cap and Share, along with other measures to mitigate climate disruption.
A series of video ‘de-growth discussions’ about the economy, resource depletion, peak oil, energy and the environment were created in late 2020 and early 2021 by ecological economists Brian Davey (Feasta member and author of Credo) and Tim Watkins (author of The Consciousness of Sheep). Thanks to Tim Watkins for editing and curating the videos.
Many Feasta members are advocates and activists for universal basic income and in 2018 they formed a Feasta Basic Income group. This group is particularly focussed on the role that basic income can play in achieving a sustainable society and economy, both in Ireland and globally. Articles by group members can be found here.
The Feasta Money group believes that the fact that conventional money is issued as a debt means that economies have to grow continually. This continual growth is clearly unsustainable and so the group has been exploring ways in which money can be put into circulation without anyone needing to borrow it first. The group hosts a lively Facebook discussion group with 95 members from around the world. Its 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 group also believes that borrowing to buy a house or to finance a business will prove disastrous for both parties if incomes shrink as energy supplies contract as a result of oil peak. It has therefore been exploring new ways of providing finance and some of its ideas can be found in the book Fleeing Vesuvius. The group is particularly keen to get membership enquiries from people wanting to help put these ideas into practice. Recent activity includes producing a widely-circulated report of a conference organised by the International Movement for Monetary Reform in November 2018, and a June 2019 submission on community banking. Two events are being planned by the Group in 2021, in partnership with the Cork Environmental Forum.
Feasta’s Water Commoning Group was formed in late 2016 and aims to extend the debate about water policy in Ireland and to establish water commoning as something worthy of serious and critical consideration. You can read more about it here.
Feasta’s Feidhlim Harty was one of five representatives from the Environmental Pillar (in Ireland) on a Waste Advisory Group that was set up by the Irish Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment in early 2020, in order to inform government policies in relation to waste prevention, waste management and hazardous waste. You can read his report on the Group’s activities here.
Earlier Feasta projects included 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.
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. 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.
The Working Groups are a great way to get active, meet other Feasta members and make a difference. For more information on a particular group, check out other sections on the website or contact the convenor. Here is a list of all groups, and the name of the convenor for each group:
– Brian Davey and Caroline Whyte
– Mark Garavan
– Elizabeth Cullen
– Graham Barnes
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, the European Commission and the UNFCCC.
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. Feasta’s Caroline Whyte is currently (as of 2021) a member of the IEN’s Board of Directors.
The Pillar is a structure whereby a range of national environmental NGOs cooperate together on policy issues according to their interests. Feasta member Theresa O’Donohue was elected to the Pillar’s Steering Committee in August 2020.