Richard Heinberg, author of The End of Growth, gave the keynote address at the â€˜Seoul Youth Hub Conference 2013, Reshaping the Way We Liveâ€™, held in Seoul, Korea from 6 to 8 November 2013.
The conference was co-hosted with 8 youth-led organizations working for transforming our lives into more sustainable way in various sectors.
The Seoul Youth Hub is a project of the Seoul Metropolitan Government, and its mandate is to help young people â€œdesign a future societyâ€ by providing a place where they can share and resolve their problems, experiment with a sharing economy, and â€œdiscuss specific policies regarding various agendas such as work-labor, housing, life safety net, business creation, youth politics,â€ and more. The Hub is also intended as a model and a networking center for similar projects throughout Asia.
Richard was quite impressed about it all, and wrote a report on his experience on Shareable.
Very funny was his meeting with the Mayor of Seoul:
“On the evening of the first day of the conference I met Mayor Park at his offices in City Hall, a twisty new steel-and-glass structure whose ground floor is devoted to citizen-led social innovation projects.
Copies of The End of Growth were on the mayorâ€™s meeting room table. Using an interpreter, we got right to it: He had clearly read the book and asked intelligent questions about it. What would I recommend that he and the City of Seoul do to prepare for the end of economic growth? It was a stunning question, given the circumstances, and he appeared eager to consider whatever suggestions I might offer. I started rattling off a laundry list of ideas â€” supporting farmersâ€™ markets, community gardens, and other staples of a local food system; discouraging cars while encouraging bicycling and public transport; raising energy building standards to the Passive House level; staging more cultural events to increase the happiness quotient among citizens. When I finished, he recited examples of how he and the city have already begun doing nearly every one of these things. He was saying, in effect, â€œCheck, check, check. Come on, what else have you got? Please tell me, and Iâ€™ll see if we can do it!â€ I suggested he find a way for the city to help bring Transition to Seoul. (There are currently two official Transition Initiatives in Japan, none in Korea.) He promised to do just that.”