New Economy Journal

Building a New Economy in the Face of the Climate Emergency: Update from the NENA Coordinating Hub

The First Print Issue. Download PDF

Volume 1, Issue 6

October 7, 2019

By - Michelle Maloney

Piece length: 439 words

Cover image by Sophie Lamond
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This morning my 11-year-old daughter and her friends have finished their placards and are ready to march in the global Climate Change Strike, here in Brisbane.   As I watch their earnest little faces concentrate on the colouring in, my heart hurts.  I can barely imagine the future these amazing young girls face. The weight of anxiety, fear, frustration – and in the darker times, sheer terror – that weighs upon me every day, is growing deeper and sharper today.  I’ll be marching with thousands of children, and grown-ups, who know modern societies must change.  But it will throw into sharp relief, the fact that our governments – who hold in their control some of the most promising tools for rapid collective action – refuse to act.

In late 2015, when Professor Bronwen Morgan and I started planning the 2016 conference that would catalyse the creation of the New Economy Network Australia (NENA), climate change and the ecological crisis were at the forefront of our thinking.  Decades and decades of critique and analysis from a broad range of thinkers, writers and activists, has demonstrated that capitalism and neoliberalism - built on the foundations of imperialism and colonialism - are enabling humanity’s insatiable consumption and destruction of the living world, and building economic systems that are socially unjust.  Bronwen and I were inspired by the fact that while governments around the world were failing to act, civil society institutions and movements were leading the way to building economic systems that can halt our current path of environmental suicide and build a new path into a sustainable future.

After two and half years of network building, working groups and fabulous conferences, in February this year NENA was incorporated as a non-distributing (not for profit) co-operative.  As a growing network of networks, individuals and organisations, with a growing number of geographic and sectoral hubs and co-hosted events and projects, NENA is showing great promise.  Our hope is that NENA becomes a strong platform from which people can find each other, share stories of challenges and success, engage in sharing and peer-to-peer learning – and build shared strategies to create a new economic system.

So while I march today with the girls – and thousands of other children like them – I’ll cling to my optimism that people power can push our governments to take the economic, political and systemic action that we need.  And in the meantime, I’ll continue to work to help build NENA, so that civil society can continue to transform Australia’s economic system so that achieving ecological health and social justice are the foundational principles and primary objectives of our society and economic system.

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