Work Less Party founder Conrad Schmidt explains De-Growth Vancouver name change
Once again, Work Less Party founder Conrad Schmidt is on the inside looking out.
As a permanent resident of Canada with dual German and South African citizenship, the East Vancouver parent will not be able to vote or run in this fall’s civic election.
However, despite his storied history, he’s not been idle. Schmidt told the Straight he is looking forward to seeing how his party’s reincarnation, De-Growth Vancouver, fares at the ballot box on November 19.
“You can’t shop your way to a sustainable planet,” Schmidt said by phone today (October 18). “That should really be our slogan.”
De-Growth Vancouver has no mayoral candidate. However, 2008 Work Less Party city council candidates Chris Shaw and Ian Gregson will run again for council, along with East Van poet Chris Masson.
“We had to have at least one good cop in the crowd,” Schmidt said of Masson.
Schmidt said the name change came about because he came to the realization that “nobody was really talking about the fact that you can’t have infinite economic growth on a finite planet”.
“Environmentalists and politicians are just trying to sell us more stuff,” Schmidt added. “Environmentalism has become about telling people about things that are green and trying to convince them to buy more. That’s not what economic sustainability’s about.”
In April 2010, ahead of the first of two De-Growth conferences Schmidt organized, UBC professor Bill Rees said he was totally on board with the aims of the de-growth movement.
“De-growth is going to be the major issue of the century,” Bill Rees, who’s with the school of community and regional planning, told the Straight by phone at the time.