Dear Dick Smith

As Dave mentioned in the last post, Australian Dick Smith has offered a challenge to those steady-staters under 30 years of age: get famous furthering the post-growth solution and win $1 million dollars (Australian). While there is a small amount of irony in the proposal, it is much needed money that could do a lot to increase the movement. There is already a few ideas in work amongst the eager post-growther, de-growthers and steady-staters, but more to come on that later. For now, here’s my response to Dick Smith’s post on his website..

Dick Smith
Dick Smith's Wilbderforce Award

Dear Dick,

Thank you so much for placing such an inspiring award in the public arena. The issues confronting human society are grave to say the least, yet they pale in comparison to the spirit and optimism we carry with us. Those of us in the “next generation” hold the key to shaping the future of what will surely be the most pivotal century in all of human history. Climate destabilization is already taking place and will only increase if we continue to follow the growth paradigm. Resource scarcity, pollution, community degradation, biodiversity loss and the breakdown of civilization are the only future presented by further growth of our economy.

There are many of us that recognize these challenges and are working as best as we can to solve them. For several years I have run a blog called Steady State Revolution, where I focus on the damaging behavior of conspicuous consumption and the need for a sustainable alternative. Recently I co-founded a blog called Post Growth with a few other fellow-minded bloggers, both in the United States (Scott Gast) and in Australia (Sharon Ede). Another blogger friend of mine in the UK, Jeremy Williams has been making waves with his blog Make Wealth History and a website called Beyond Growth.

I’ve recently taken a post with the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE) as their Washington State Chapter Director. CASSE has been working hard to further the public conversation about these topics and I have been privileged to help them in their endeavors. Their new blog, the “Daly News,” features some of the most prominent names in ecological economics – including the blog’s namesake Herman Daly.

Every one of these people recognizes the conflict between continued economic growth and ecological sustainability. We see how the growth economy must transition to a stable, dynamic, steady state economy to insure a livable, just and flourishing human society is passed down to future generations.

Your prize may very well represent a flag under which we can all unite.

I believe the single most important thing in the success of the human experience is community. No man is an island, and this is an even more evident truth in the face of climate change and peak oil. Our way of life is dependent upon others, and the way we live impacts everyone. A sustainable economy will require strengthening our local and global communities, working together in cooperation instead of competition.

Your award represents a means to help pull more of us together, not for the money, but for the possibility of inspiring change and the ability to enhance the recognition of a sustainable way of life for all.

I look forward to the next year!

All the best,

Joshua Nelson
Washington State Chapter Director
Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy

7 thoughts on “Dear Dick Smith”

  1. Right on Joshua – I can attest that since the earliest days of my involvement with CASSE, Joshua has been a tireless volunteer for spreading awareness of the steady state idea. No flash in the pan supporter, Josh is always there. You can tell where I’m going with this: when I heard of Dick Smith’s offer for a young steady state champion, I instantly thought of Joshua.

  2. Hi Joshua,
    It seems that this amount of money is way too much for any project we may have and the idea of creating a movement might be the best outcome of this “race”. In any case, we are already all winners simply because of the existence of such prize for a post-growth initiative (may be an individual)…
    The DegrowthPedia initiative ( especially intends to communicate information and education about degrowth, and so about steady-state and post-development too.
    The idea is to develop this platform as the Encyclopedia of Earth ( did with articles written by students and peer reviewed by experts through a necessary multi-disciplinary approach (Cultural, Ecological, Economical, Political, Social, Spiritual…). The platform would also provide case studies as alternative experiences to share with other parts of the world. Its multi-language feature makes able non-English speaking people to participate to the debate which is necessary when dealing with global issues.
    Finally, DegrowthPedia is all about potential for spreading new creative ideas in a time of global crisis in our Western countries.
    Let’s create a global movement and share our talents and ideas!
    Francois DM, founder of DegrowthPedia

    1. Francois,

      I agree, the existence of this award is on its own a great achievement – especially for media coverage in Australia. Of course, I’ve seen nothing of it on the new in the states, but the internet is a valuable news source for many people world wide and it is definitely online!

      I think you’re right, there are no single projects moving forward that might be big enough, but this award can serve as a catalyst for all of us to band together and form a movement. I’m talking with a small group now about how to facilitate this, once we have a frame work we’ll be talking with more people.

      I like the DegrowthPedia! Thanks for the link and the comment.


  3. Please join the discussion on Dick’s Facebook page, “Dick Smith Wilberforce Award”

    1. Jennifer,

      Thanks for the comment. I’m not actually a facebook member. I appreciate your comment and readership, though, and thank you for the information regarding the facebook page!


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