Beyond Environmentalism: 'living Well' and 'bio-Civilisation' at the UN Rio+20 Summit

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 3:45 PM
Room: 301
Oral Presentation
James GOODMAN , Social and Political Change Group, University of Technology, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Ariel SALLEH , Polotocal Economy, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Concepts of 'living well' are re-framing the ways in which global justice movements challenge market globalism. In the 2012 counter-mobilisations against the United Nations Rio+20 Summit the vision for an alternative future was centred on the idea of a 'bio-civilisation'. The concept was introduced to challenge the idea of a marketised 'Green Economy' as promoted by the UN outcome document - 'The Future We Want'. Against commodification, a bio-civilisation was defined as a paradigmatic social and ecological commons, and was embodied in the alternative World Social Forum document - 'Another Future is Possible'. In the process of countering the UN's free market environmentalism, the bio-civilisation concept was elaborated in some depth, across a range of policy fields, as a form of 'living well'. The paper outlines the political contexts in which the bio-civilisation concept has emerged, and how it has been used to signify a clear break with green neo-liberalism. The paper identifies sources of agency for bio-civilisation, both as a lived practice and as a transformative program.