The Institute is the co-ordinator for an EU funded research project that is ‘Rethinking Globalisation in the Light of Contraction and Convergence™’ otherwise known as CONVERGE. Social Change and Development (SCAD) are one of the eight partners in the project and they organised this international conference.
As you might guess CONVERGE had its roots in the same place as TCW – the original Converging World group that met in the garden of a pub, led to wind turbines as a practical and real expression of the ideas but it also sparked much more thought and concern for global equity and living within the limits of the planet, which is the subject of the research.
Alice-Marie Archer, the CONVERGE project manager says: “Travelling to India to discuss the question of rights and responsibilities with developing world partners put us in direct contact with an inconvenient reality – our privileged existence and the significant resources required to maintain our lifestyles. A person in the UK has an ecological footprint on average five times that of a person living in India. With a world average bio-capacity of 1.8 hectares per person, India uses half of its ‘fair share’ – the UK uses around three times”.
About 150 people – mainly from India but also Belgium, Italy, Japan, France and the UK – came together at the SCAD Francis Xavier Engineering College. The presentations focused on bringing environmental and human development issues closer together – which tied in well with talks on the influence of Ghandi. The Mayor of Tirunelveli presented the sustainable development plans and achievements of the city and we explored future generations and appropriate technology for convergence.
We hope to continue our exploration of convergence with the people who came to the conference through the Convergence Alliance.
As part of the CONVERGE project’s desire to leave positive ecological legacies in the communities with which we work, we raised money enough through donations to plant 250 trees in India.
Ian Roderick, Schumacher Institute for Sustainable Systems
(Systems Thinking for Sustainability)