“People say, why are you so passionate about climate action or social justice action? And to be honest, I’m not passionate, it’s a responsibility, I don’t have the luxury to focus on something else because when you see inequality increasing, when you see the effects of climate change happening all around the world then the only responsible thing to do, especially if you’re in a privileged position in a country when you can do something, then you have to do something and that’s why I do what I do.”
Dr Sabrina Chakori’s words could be the opening lines of a global constitution committed to improving the lives of all its citizens.
A leading researcher at CSIRO – Australia’s Science Agency, Dr Chakori joins me on Inside Ideas to explain why we need to call time on the global systems responsible for human and environmental suffering, and instead pursue a Degrowth future where “investing in social and ecological wellbeing” are the priorities.
“I think we have all the knowledge from the IPCC reports and all the amazing scientists out there, it’s just that we need to get organised and we can’t get organised because we are crushed by the current system.”
In her Ph.D. research Sabrina explored packaged food reduction within food systems. And her systems approach generated an understanding and repositioning of the socio-materiality of food packaging, politicising packaged food, and highlighted the need to pursue degrowth strategies to increase the sustainability of food systems.
“What we need to think about is why our society works like this, why our food systems are designed like this and what the purpose of our food system is? The purpose of our food systems are mainly to increase capital for big companies, more and more centralised food companies and corporations – and not any more to provide healthy and affordable food for people,” she says.
The multi-award winning social entrepreneur and Post Growth Institute fellow was named the 2020 Create Change 7News Young Achiever Award (QLD) winner, and was awarded the Emerging Female Leader bursary from the National Council of Women of Queensland in 2020.
The researcher, educator, and dedicated activist is also the co-founder of the Degrowth Journal, a collective focussed on changing academic culture, decommodifying knowledge, and supporting slow science.
Dr Chakori is walking the talk here as she fully invests in creating the systemic change that can deliver a more socially just and ecologically sustainable Degrowth society.
“Degrowth means reducing the metabolism of our society, reducing productivism and consumerism to focus on investing into social and ecological wellbeing, into human flourishing beyond profit, growth or GDP growth. It means prioritising human health and other species’ wellbeing and ecosystem and ecosystem services. Degrowth is not austerity measures, it’s not collapse, it means planning for an economy that works for most human beings and ecosystems.”
I am delighted to welcome Dr Sabrina Chakori on to the show to take a deep dive into the world of Degrowth and what it can offer a world in desperate need of a new direction.