FEASTA

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Feasta is an organisation launched in Dublin in October 1998 to explore the economic, cultural and environmental characteristics of a truly sustainable society - and to disseminate the results of this exploration to the widest relevant audience.

The word feasta (pronounced fasta) is taken from an old Irish poem that laments the decimation of the forests. It means 'in the future' and Feasta sees itself as a collective thinking process about that future.

Position on sustainability

The position Feasta has adopted is that many of the world's problems are caused not by bad people but by dysfunctional systems and it sees its purpose as designing better systems. Feasta has spent a lot of time examining the reasons for this growth compulsion to see if an economic system can be devised without it. Feasta has also looked at money systems, taxation systems, rationing systems, land tenure systems and democratic systems and come up with ideas for these.

Feasta's definition of sustainability is that a society is sustainable if it can expect to survive for several hundreds of years without being forced to change because it is currently destroying or undermining something on which its survival crucially depends. That is not to say that such a society would not change, just that it does not expect to have to do so as a result of its own activities. Indeed, to be sustainable, a society has to be able to change because the environment in which the society finds itself might change itself and the society needs to be able to adjust to that. Beyond this, Feasta has no dogma. We have no party line. We welcome differences of opinion among our members because diversity is crucial if our thinking is to evolve.

Organisation

While most of Feasta's members live in Ireland, people from other countries have joined because they have found that its form of "hard sustainability" is not being discussed in any depth in their own circles. This has turned the organisation into an international network with an Irish office and efforts are currently being made to reflect this more in the way we are structured and in our activities. We are trying to change Feasta from being a place-based body to one which is of equal value to its members wherever they happen to live in the world.

Feasta's thinking is normally carried out through working groups which form to explore a topic. Often a project, such as organising a conference, brings a group together. Some groups start, run for a year or so and then go dormant when their goal has been achieved. Others are active for longer although they will go through phases, as their members' interests and circumstances change. In our earlier years, these groups tended to meet in person, usually once a month, but increasingly the discussions are carried out by e-mail, with groups developing their own e-lists.


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