'Measure well-being, not GDP': Protesting scientists block EU Commission entrance

'Measure well-being, not GDP': Protesting scientists block EU Commission entrance
Picture of a protest action of climate activists of Rebellion Global, Groths Kill, and Extinction Rebellion, with scientist at the entrance of Berlaymont building, on Friday 07 June 2024. Credit: Belga / Timon Ramboer

A group of scientists and activists from Scientist Rebellion, Extinction Rebellion and Growth Kills have blocked the entrances to the European Commission in Brussels this morning, as part of a week of actions to demand an EU-wide degrowth programme.

Around twenty scientists blocked entrances to the Berlaymont building on Friday morning, advocating for a transition towards a "flourishing economy that privileges the well-being of all, rather than benefiting the ultra-wealthy".

Some protestors glued their hands to the doors while others held up banners reading: "Green growth is a myth", "Measure well-being, not GDP", or "The future is degrowth".

As voting to elect the next European Parliament has already got underway in some Member States, demonstrators said that almost no political parties propose degrowth, which they say is "the only option to solve the social and environmental impasse".

Credit: Belga / Timon Ramboer

Addressing the European Union, the scientists called for abandoning GDP as an index of prosperity, creating a sovereign citizen assembly to decide on a common future, and levying "real" corporate taxes for their social and environmental costs.

"End overconsumption and treat essential resources as common goods accessible to everyone," they said.

Wolfgang Cramer, lead author of the sixth report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Chance (IPCC), said that the economic system needs to guarantee people's wellbeing while also respecting the planet's limits.

"Economic growth as a concept was useful nearly 100 years ago to support policy-makers in overcoming the disaster of the 1929 global economic crisis. Today, it has become a watchword to justify the devastation of our natural resources and support wealth redistribution to the richest," he said.

"We now need an economic system guaranteeing everyone's well-being while respecting the planet's limits. This is entirely achievable if we have the political will," he added.

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