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The Supply Chain Crisis

4 May - 11 May 2022
The Supply Chain Crisis

Two online sessions to understand the factors that are driving the global supply chain crisis. As we face the end of cheap fuel, we have to consider alternatives to the infeasible model of constant economic growth that has already pushed our planet to the breaking point.

We are in the midst of a global supply chain crisis, undoubtedly exacerbated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine: microchips, glass, cardboard, plastics, resins, aluminium, copper, cement and other materials are becoming hard to find. At the same time, and closely related to this situation, soaring energy prices have brought the main fertiliser factories to a standstill. This is further compounded by delays in international transport, where shipping costs have risen by 1000% and there is an acute shortage of stevedores and lorry drivers.

Although the media attribute this problem to COVID-19 restrictions on business activities and the war in Ukraine, the economy was already slowing down before the pandemic. What the war and the pandemic have done is accelerate certain processes, such as divestment in the search for new crude oil deposits due to the high cost of such operations and the lower profitability of new oil fields.

Other voices go even further, claiming that this crisis is due to the fact that we are running out of the cheap resources on which our current economy relies, resources that have permitted steady growth in terms of GDP up until now. A system with limited access to cheap, quality energy cannot continue to grow. Furthermore, the concentration of minerals, particularly metals, is increasingly low, which means more energy—and consequently more money—is required to extract them. We have finally reached the planet’s limits, as ecological economists warned that we would.

The time for de-growth has arrived. The only question is whether we go about it in a planned, fair, equitable way, or simply let the current system collapse on its own.

To shed light on this complex topic, we will be holding two online sessions on 4 and 11 May with the following guest speakers:

  • 4 May:
    • Antonio Turiel, physicist and mathematician with a PhD in Theoretical Physics, energy resources expert and CSIC [Spanish National Research Council] researcher at the Instituto de Ciencias del Mar [Ocean Sciences Institute]
    • Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow of Post Carbon Institute and one of the world’s leading experts on the energy crisis and planetary sustainability
    • Moderated by Laura Ojea, Energy and Sustainability Editor of El Español-Invertia.
  • 11 May: Conversation between Yayo Herrero and Tim Jackson
    • Yayo Herrero, anthropologist, technical agricultural engineer, lecturer and one of the most influential European researchers in the field of ecofeminism and ecosocialism
    • Tim Jackson, ecological economist, director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP) and author of numerous books, including the acclaimed Prosperity without Growth (2009) and Post Growth: Life after Capitalism (2021)
    • Presented by Carolina García, trustee of Fundación Transición Verde

Cycle organised by La Casa Encendida with the collaboration of Fundación Transición Verde. Simultaneous Spanish-English translation will be available for these sessions.

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