Steady State Vermont is a Chapter of the Center of the Advancement of the Steady State Economy. Steady State Vermont serves dual purposes.
1. Unifying the voice of the grassroots.
Local grassroots organizations work on many different social, environmental and economic issues. Many of the challenges these organizations face ultimately are the consequence of national (and local) policies stemming from an attitude that economic growth is a panacea for all that ails. This continues despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of Americans preference environmental protection over increased economic growth. (See Yale’s recent study). Today, economic growth is an increasing threat to environmental sustainability and stable community. Thus, CASSE Chapters work at the grassroots level to unify voices – to bring divergent efforts toward an understanding of the single most critical leverage point in the 21st century: the macroeconomic pursuit of a steady state economy. This effort is largely about communication, education, starting conversations and organizing with a single vision in mind: a transition away from growth based economics.
2. Taking action steps toward a steady state economy locally.
At the same time, the Steady State Vermont Chapter seeks to take action steps toward a steady state economy in Burlington and in Vermont. In order to bring about this transition, these regions must determine their carrying capacity and simultaneously determine which institutions will facilitate a steady state economy. This work builds on the work of local research institutions and advocacy efforts which have make great steps.
This includes work being done at the state level. For instance, in 2008, Vermont established the Vermont Common Assets Trust. It is also worth noting that CASSE has been officially recognized by the Vermont State Legislature for its advocacy. See ACTR-491 here.
It also includes work being done locally and in Burlington, Vermont. Another initiative underway is the Steady State Agriculture project, which builds primarily on the work of Dan Erickson, of the Food Systems Research Institute and a USDA hatch grant which CASSE employee, Skyler Perkins, worked on with UVM professor Josh Farley, for his master’s degree. This project aims to establish a steady state agriculture system in the Chittenden County region; focusing first on the development of a food system with a drastically reduced GHG footprint.
Many regions in the U.S. would likely need to go through a period of degrowth prior to finding a truly sustainable rate of economic activity. However, Vermont is truly in a position to transition from a growth based economy to a steady state economy.