On Friday October 21st, the first oikos regional meeting entirely run in French kicked-off. Twenty-five members from the oikos French speaking Chapters gathered in the north of Brussels ready to debate and discuss the topic of sustainable economics with regards to consumption, energy and a more in depth look at the circular economy. Participants just had the opportunity to meet each other on this first day and talk about their local projects.
On the second day, the first full conference day, two interactive workshops were planned in the morning. The first was given by Mr. Francis Leboutte (Objectors de Croissance). Mr. Leboutte expressed why his institute believes it is not feasible to continue growing at the current level of aspiration. He also focused on energy consumption, presented data and a movie that showcases the idea of regrowth and its impact on the energy sector. The second workshop was given by Mr. Philippe Drouillon (Metamorphosis) who is also a professor at the ICHEC. Mr. Drouillon engaged participants in a very interactive learning methodology to raise awareness on the circular economy and its sub-concepts. It was also made clear that a circular economy does not necessarily mean it is also a sustainable economy. An exchange of ideas, and group work for the creation of sustainable circular economy alternatives, followed. A fully organic and home-cooked meal was then served to the 35 international and local participants. In the afternoon a tour around Brussels allowed participants to explore models of businesses that embrace the ‘bio’ or ‘sharing’ ideology. The tour also included a slow food degustation stop. A discussion was conducted by representatives from Zero-Waste Belgium to end the tour. The two representatives presented their habits, tools that can be used to contribute to a more sustainable economy and how to take small steps to walk the talk. Once back at the conference room, a presentation on oikos, its structure and an oikos Q&A occurred. The day ended with a local dinner organized right on the main square at the very centre of Brussels.
On the final conference day, participants heard from Mr. David Petit who shared the work his NGO Bloom does. Boom focuses on a ‘community economy’, also embracing more sharing amongst families and decreasing the need for ownership and monetary exchange. A yoga session followed where participants stretched and learnt about inner sustainability. A walk around Brussels and a visit to a homeless centre, run in a sustainable way (including the cooking with wasted food), closed the first oikos Francophone Meeting.