14th GCGI International Conference
The Fourth GCGI and SES Joint Conference, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy
‘OUR SACRED EARTH: Spiritual Ecology, Values-led Economics, Education and Society Responding to Ecological Crisis’
Villa Boccella, Tuscany, Italy, 28 August-1 September 2018
A Reflection from Tamas Veress*
Group Photo-GCGI-SES Lucca 2018. Photo Credit: Angela Bowman
We arrived at Villa Boccella, a truly magical 17th century estate, set among the hills, vineyards and olive groves of Northern Tuscany. The locals - living within and around the medieval city of Lucca - have been growing and producing with respect towards Gaia for generations; today they combine scientific knowledge with traditional - organic, fossil excluding (chemicals, machinery) - ways of agricultural practices. The setting was perfect for us - participants from diverse life-paths -, to learn and to share our meals (thankfully to the selfless spirit of volunteering friends) as well as our thoughts, ideas and feelings regarding our sacred Earth.
In their opening talks Ian Mason, principle of School of Economic Science, and Kamran Mofid, founder, the Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative (GCGI), set the tone by welcoming and acknowledging each participants presence in ubuntu philosophy fashion "If you wouldn't be here, this event would not exist". We discussed the ills of the Anthropocentric worldview and talked about connections, relations towards our non-human fellow beings. Spirituality has to accompany our ecological knowledge and understanding about life's multi-focality; life doesn't exist by itself, life is the web of connections. Therefore economics based on the principle of utility seeking individuals is outdated. Sociability and fraternity are genuine and core elements of economic activities. In order to re-introduce responsibility and intentionality, we are to re-shape economics as a moral science. Within economics we have to create space for discussions, ideas which are intended to deal with questions such as "What should, and could be done?", and also "How will we get there?".
Importantly, during our thought exchanges we recognized that in parallel with intellectual work, emotional and spiritual work is ahead of us, as Mother Earth's and each beings' liberation is bound to one another - "I am because we are".
*Tamas Veress, GCGI Youth Ambassador, is a PhD student at the Business Ethics Center, the Corvinus University of Budapest. He is involved in community building activities and self-awareness, life-path planning workshops directed towards high school students, young adults and teachers.