A New Economics For Peace? Interview with Amrita Bhohi, Spiritual Ecology Advocate

A New Economics For Peace ? Interview with Amrita Bhohi

‘No wealth but life: A new economy is coming alive’ was a series of events offered on a gift economy basis that happened at St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace over the past 4 months (Nov 2015 to Feb 2016). The series, which was part of Saint Ethelburga’s program on New Economics for Peace, aimed to look at the emergent field of new economics, and to provoke questions on how this field can be key to building peace in the world. The series is part of a recent evolution in the work done by St Ethelburga, that resulted from its heartfelt growing awareness that peace building sits inseparably alongside other global concerns.

The event was co-organized by Juxtine Huxley and Amrita Bhohi. IntelligentHQ had the privilege to interview Amrita on her work.

Amrita’s background is in new economics and her role at St Ethelburga’s is Programme Co-ordinator for the Project Phoenix and New Economics for Peace program.

She previously worked on the global Eradicating Ecocide campaign, and at the think tank The Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House). In 2013 she organised ‘TEDxWhitechapel’, which was one of the most popular and radical TEDx events in London. She holds an BSc in Biomedical Sciences from King’s College, and more recently an MA in Economics for Transition taken at Schumacher College. She co-organized the series No wealth but life: A new economy is coming alive’, and she helps coordinate the program Spiritual Ecology Fellowship, which is a youth fellowship programme exploring ways in which the principles of Spiritual Ecology can contribute to a new way of life that is in harmony with the Earth.

The series No wealth but life: A new economy is coming alive’, explored stories about how all over the world business, sharing and social value are coming together in new and exciting ways that break the mould of traditional economics. These new practices are grounded in values of social and environmental justice, and promote collaboration and community building. Examples of this include cooperatives, social enterprises, the transition towns movement, new non-hierachical ways of organising, the (real) sharing economy etc.

​The five events were designed in a practical, playful and participatory way and they focused on five interconnected themes: participatory economics, not-for-profit/social enterprise models, re-inventing organisations, alternative finance and the co-operative and commons movement.

The first event featured Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition Town movement and Transition Town Totnes. He is a known blogger and spokesperson, and the author of The Power of Just Doing Stuff’. In 2012 he was voted one of the Independent’s top 100 environmentalists and one of ‘Britain’s 50 New Radicals’. He is an Ashoka Fellow, a keen gardener and one of the founders of the New Lion Brewery in Totnes and a Director of Totnes Community Development Society, the group behind Atmos Totnes, a very ambitious community-led development project.

December 2nd 2015 event was about the the not-for-profit revolution. It asked questions such as how new models of enterprise are impacting the not-for-profit world and how social enterprises could be used a a business model that generates peace. Invited guests included Jen Hinton ( from the Post-Growth Institute) and Duncan Law (Transition Town Brixton)

January 13th 2016 event, was entitled Re-invent your organisation. It was led by George Por, from the organization Future Considerations and the director of enlivening edge, an online magazine about new models of organizations. The event reflected on how to build more flexible, harmonius and organic organisations that mirror our values and search for meaning. The event was inspired by the ground breaking book by Frederic Laloux, ‘Re-inventing Organisations’.

George Por, in the event Re-invent your organisation, Saint Ethelburga’s Centre for reconciliation and peace, 2016

Money, what else is there? was the event of February 17th 2016. The event looked at alternative finance models that are more ethical and that focus on building community, prosperity and equality. The invited guest was Brett Scott, the author of “The Heretics Guide to Global Finance”.

The final event, by the end of February, concluded the series. Entitled “Is shared ownership the answer?” it focused on how the commons and cooperative movements are coming together in exciting and hopeful new ways. The event reflect on alternative models of ownership, such as shared ownership over our resources, and it linked the cooperative movement to the possibility of build peace.