Sustainable Israel: A Changing Society in the 21st Century, Montreal
In Montreal in June 2015, Valerie Brachya presented her findings from the Sustainability Outlook 2030 project. Ms. Brachya conducted the research out of the Jerusalem Institute for the Ministry of Environment and presented her findings to the Prime Minister’s Office. The project focused on planning a more sustainable Israel for 2030 by rigorously decoupling economic growth from environmental destruction. Out of the project came many recommendations, including the need for more research on urban sustainability. This urban sustainability project was born out of Ms. Brachya’s findings in the Sustainability Outlook 2030 report.
Urban Sustainability Project, yearly conference: Prof. Halina Brown
Professor Halina Brown was invited by the Urban Sustainability Project of the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies to be the keynote speaker at the conference on Urban Sustainability and to lead 2 seminars for different target audiences on sustainable consumption and lifestyles. Professor Brown was accompanied by Professor Philip Vergragt, who actively participated in the events.
In her keynote address at the conference in Holon Municipality, attended by over 250 people, senior staff from local authorities and civil society organizations, Professor Brown described how the consumer society developed and flourished as the realization of a post WW2 dream, where higher wages enabled more spending power which brought great prosperity as measured by GDP. However, the American dream, as expressed in increasingly larger homes and the proliferation of goods, was not accompanied by a rise in subjective well being and levels of income inequality increased.
Professors Brown and Vergragt also held a seminar for the interdisciplinary project team and 25 academic researchers from various universities and departments in Israel. In the seminar, they surveyed a range of themes of research concerning sustainable consumption including economic modelling of a non increasing steady state economy, subjective well being based on global standards, social practices, policy, behavioral change, local and solidarity economy, cultural change, socio-technical transitions, de-growth to replace the search for efficiency with a search for sufficiency; personal and communal values, and building a set of indicators to measure sustainability.