2011년 1월 9일 일요일

[자료] Downshifting Downunder - an organization to promote and facilitate downshifting

출처: 호주 녹색당 2005년 여름호(제18권)


In January 2005 I had been reading Growth Fetish by Clive Hamilton and was inspired to encourage increased downshifting by starting an organized movement called Downshifting Downunder. One of the goals of Downshifting Downunder is that a majority of Australians will have downshifted by 2015. I had progressively downshifted myself since 1998 and found more time to learn and think about environmental issues and become a more active and responsible citizen again. I reasoned that if larger numbers of Australians downshifted and were networked as a movement, this could have a significant positive impact on our society and ecology.

I was encouraged and supported by Prof Ian Lowe and Dr Clive Hamilton of The Australia Institute (www.tai.org.au)  and a small group met in Sydney in early 2005 to plan  a conference to launch the movement.  We quickly found that there were lots of downshifters out there, clearly feeling isolated, delighted to find kindred spirits, proud to share their stories and keen to network and support other potential downshifters.

The conference was held in Sydney in July 2005 and over 100 people attended from as far away from Perth and New Zealand. About half were experienced downshifters and the others were usually potential downshifters or just curious. The conference attracted significant media interest that is ongoing.

Since the conference we have upgraded the website www.downshifting.net.au to appeal more to potential downshifters. We have emerging regional networks, a newsletter Simpler Richer Living and plans for a National Downshifting Week. Media interest continues to be high as they see this as a significant social trend and there are many human interest stories of downshifting all over the country. This years Woodford Festival Greenhouse will
feature a forum on Downshifting Downunder with Clive Hamilton, Ian Lowe and Ruth Ostrow.

Politics of Downshifting


We have all heard John Howard talking about his ‘aspirational’ voters who all aspire to the ‘Great Australian Dream’ whatever that is these days, worry about their mortgages and debts and vote with their hip pocket nerve when scare-mongered at election time. But
is the ‘Great Australian Dream’ becoming a nightmare based on a fruitless search for fulfillment through more consumption. Despite huge increases in GDP, income, wealth and debt over the past decades where is the vidence that it increases our wellbeing? Do we see any links between our huge consumption binge and environmental damage? By downshifting and reducing consumption in line with income we can not only find deeper more sustainable sources of personal wellbeing but we can help the environment as well.

23% of Australians have quietly downshifted in the past decade. Politicians have recently recognized the groundswell and are testing the waters by trying to identify with this downshifting. Senator Barnaby Joyce recently even suggested that the Downshifters and Sea changers are part of the newly emerging support base for the Nationals. Julia Gillard also tested the waters recently in a similar way for the ALP.

But surely downshifters are fertile demographic ground for the Greens. If the mainstream parties are trapped in the old economic paradigm they can never seriously reach out to the downshifters as can the Greens.

I learned (sadly) that I could not always engage mainstream people for long in a conversation on environmental issues. But work/life balance, consumption and downshifting as a topic is different …try it yourself!

David Wyatt began downshifting around 1998 when he was CEO of PanBio, a successful medical  diagnostics company. He is Adjunct Professor in Corporate Sustainability at the University of Queensland Business School

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