Can Bristol become an Ecopolis?

People across Bristol are struggling with the massive increases in their energy bills, the impact of inflation on everything from rent to buying the weekly shop – and on top of all that we now face a supply chain crisis that means basics like tomatoes are no longer on the shelves.

Tickets to the SMALL IS THE FUTURE event are on sale now. More than half have already sold so do book now to avoid disappointment. 

The city has a history of radicalism – most recently making international news when Black Lives Matter protesters toppled the statue of Edward Colston into the harbour to end the reverence paid to British slavers in the city.

Activists, community leaders, academics and those at the sharp end of the current crisis living in the city will already appreciate the causes – from the climate crisis hitting salad crops in Spain, the war taking place in Ukraine driving up gas prices across Europe, the slow recovery from the Covid crisis and resulting increase in prices. But what can “heterodox” economics add to our understanding of our current predicament?


Dr Ann Pettifor, political economist and author of The Case for the Green New Deal, will be speaking at the SMALL IS THE FUTURE event in Bristol on Saturday, 17 June 2023 organised by The Ecologist in partnership with the Schumacher Institute. 

She will discuss the transition to a low carbon economy that is now necessary to avert the climate crisis – but would also create well paid secured employment for people in Bristol, as it would for people across the country.

Professor Herbert Girardet will discuss how Bristol could be transformed from a Petropolis, dependent on fossil fuels and extractive industries, to an Ecopolis that produces its own food and goods and regenerates the natural environment. Professor Girardet is the author of our MEGAMORPHOSIS series and a trustee of the Resurgence Trust, which publishes The Ecologist

Dr James Meadway, the director of the Progressive Economy Forum, will explain how the seemingly different crises – environmental, social and economic – are all intersecting with the same root causes. He will also advocate for significant policy changes both nationally and internationally.

The event will also include panel discussions with Satish Kumar, editor emeritus of the Resurgence & Ecologist magazine, Amy Hall, co-editor of the New Internationalist, and Ruth Bergan, a Bristol resident and the director of the Trade Justice Movement.


The United Nations has predicted that 70 per cent of the world’s population will live in urban areas such as Bristol by 2050. We know that 1.5 degrees of global warming over pre-industrial levels is now basically inevitable, with a calamitous three degrees of warming a very real possibility. We have no choice to make radical changes to the way we live together in cities. 


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