The 2010 Local Future conference is finalized; its title is: The 2010 International Conference on the Future: Energy, Economy and Environment.
The dates and venue are set: Friday, Nov. 12 – Sunday, Nov 14, 2010 at the Prince Conference Center at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Early bird registration is open now through Thursday (Oct. 21) for those interested in saving 50% off the full registration rate. This year registration includes three full days of conference and four full meals.
It was challenging coming up with a selection of speakers to extend beyond the topics of past conferences, but this year’s selection is outstanding, and as with a great recipe, the combination of keynotes are much, much more than the individuals alone.
Nicole Foss of Canada will provide the critical keynote address, titled “A Century of Challenges”, which analyzes the current national and global economic situation within the peak oil resource constraint frame. For the past year, Foss has been delivering this big picture talk throughout Europe and North America. We first heard of Foss in June of this year, and after listening to the audio of her presentation, began immediately to try to secure her to this year’s conference.
We are extremely fortunate that Prof. Steve Keen of Australia will provide an in depth talk on the economy. Keen is author of the book Debunking Economics. He is winner of the Revere Prize for accurately predicting the economic downturn far in advance, with accurate timing, and by using a logical economic model. Keen talk will explain in easy-to-understand terms, how the economy really works, and why mainstream economists were unable to project the downturn.
Foss and Keen both examine the economic phenomena of debt deflation, which Japan has experienced for over a decade, and which appears to be happening now to many nations, including the USA. This is a timely topic, and given the unfamiliarity that most have of deflation, the conference will examine it in depth, as to its ramifications for energy, economy, and environment.
Dr. Joe Tainter of Utah will provide a talk on the collapse of complex societies, based on his seminal book of the same title. Tainter examined dozens of collapses, and as the consequences of debt deflation can be severe, Tainter’s talk will help to frame the realistic risks that our own civilization faces. Tainter is currently working on a book which examines the Gulf oil disaster and continues into examining the impacts of this civilization on the world.
Building on Tainter’s historical analysis, David Korowicz of Ireland will take an in-depth look at the challenges of ever increasing complexity in this civilization, the impact of diminishing marginal returns, and the possibilities of tipping points in energy, economy, and environment. Korowicz’s work is featured in the upcoming book “Fleeing Vesuvius”, which is being compiled by FEASTA, the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability.
Korowicz’s colleague, Richard Douthwaite speaks remotely to the conference from Ireland. Douthwaite published the book “The Ecology of Money”, and spoke at the 2009 Local Future conference to excellent reviews, as he wove together the threads of peak oil, economic instability, and climate change. Douthwaite’s goal is to create a global solution to climate change and peak oil by creating an improved global economic model.
For the past three years, I’ve been studying economics and the links to environmental sustainability. For this conference, I present my findings, specifically a straight forward explanation of money, credit, and debt; and how these explain the state of both the economy and the environment. My talk attempts to reframe and extend the work of those above.
Chris Bedford, a documentary film maker and food security organizer, will provide a look at a vision for a sustainable economic model, and discuss strategies for moving forward. In the past few years, Bedford created effective short documentaries including “The Next Industrial Revolution”, “What Will We Eat?”, “The Organic Opportunity”, and “Coming Home: E.F. Schumacher & the Reinvention of the Local Economy”.
All the keynote talks above will be of extended length to provide for exceptional clarity and depth, with extra time for question and answer. Beyond the talks, each speaker will be active throughout the conference, serving on interactive panels, serving as critical responders, and working with one another and the participants to extend beyond what any of them have done separately.
Tools such as “open space meetings” will be utilized to engage and build upon the knowledge and skills of the participants, who will take active roles in the conference. This supports the goal this year of moving beyond simply educating the participants towards critical problem solving and action planning.
All those interested in the transition to sustainability, especially those already at work in this area, are encouraged to register. Early bird registration, for early birds only, is open now, and closes on Thursday (10/21). It offers 50% off the full registration rate. Also, this year merit and need based discounts are possible.
For more information, and to register for the early bird rate, please visit: