The Politics of Being, when basic needs having been met and mindful eating with Thomas Legrand

The Politics of Being, when basic needs having been met and mindful eating with Thomas Legrand

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Listen to this episode: Duration: 42 min.

Quick Overview

In the episode, author, social scientist, and sustainability practitioner, Thomas Legrand speaks with Mirian Vilela about his new book, The Politics of Being, and his work with the UNDP Conscious Food Systems Alliance. Legrand believes that we must move away from a development model based on economic growth and instead to one that ties directly into the Earth Charter’s idea of “being more, not having more,” an idea he sees as very important but has of yet been mostly ignored. He sees an answer to this in reorganizing our society and politics to focus on helping individuals realize fulfillment through wellbeing, rather than emphasizing competition, status, wealth, and consumption.

Legrand discusses some concrete examples of achieving this shift toward an economy of being in which everyone’s basic needs are met. He proposes policies that emphasize secure attachment between parents and children by supporting childcare and parental leave. He also sees providing a universal basic income and healthcare as a way to allow people more time to achieve wellbeing and fulfillment through means other than work. He also emphasizes the importance of the rights of nature, restorative justice, moving from a global economy to local economies, and the need for all of these ideas to be incorporated into the education system and national policies.

Questions and Topics Addressed in this Episode

  1. What is the meaning of the “politics of being,” and what inspired you to write this book?
  2. How do you explain the ideas expressed in the Earth Charter of “working with our minds and hearts, expanding our sense of awareness of the Earth community, cultivating higher values” and moving from a culture of having more to a culture of being more?
  3. How and why did you bring together the seemingly dissimilar ideas of being and politics and institutions?
  4. Concrete examples of bringing a politic of being into policy recommendations.
  5. What are the synergies between the ideas in the Politics of Being and the Earth Charter.
  6. How can the consciousness shift and cultural evolution take place that is required to address the looming existential problems of our society?
  7. What is the UNDP Conscious Food Systems Alliance? How does health, wellbeing, mindful eating and consciousness about farming tie into this?
  8. How do food consciousness and politics of being relate? How can we integrate various actors like farmers, academics, and civil society groups to reorient our food systems to something more regenerative?
  9. How can education and Earth Charter principles be used to further the work of the Conscious Food Systems Alliance?
  10. What are the most important “pressure points” we can use to more quickly shift to a culture of being instead of having?

Thomas Legrand

The Politics of Being, when basic needs having been met and mindful eating

Who is Thomas Legrand?

French social scientist and sustainability practitioner, Thomas Legrand, has studied management, political science, and international development and holds a PhD in ecological economics. He works in forest conservation, climate change, and sustainable finance with UN organizations, NGOs, and corporations and currently leads the UNDP Conscious Food Systems Alliance (CoFSA). For the past ten years, he has been working on rethinking the standard development model, trying to incorporate spiritual wisdom and the cultivation of inner capacities into the conversation. This has resulted in his new book, The Politics of Being.

This podcast is developed by Earth Charter International as part of our work as UNESCO Chair on Education for Sustainable Development with the Earth Charter.