Systems Change Through Bioregional Economies

Conference at University of Beira Interior (UBI), Covilhã, Portugal, September 23-26, 2021

A conference in collaboration with Systems Change Alliance, The University of Beira Interior (UBI) and Praxis – Centre of Philosophy, Politics and Culture, Prout Research Institute Portugal (PRIP), Ecolise, Portugal, Economic Democracy Advocates (EDA), and other organizations.


The Covid-19 crisis did not crash the economy. The epidemic was simply the straw that broke the system’s back. It revealed the grave problems of climate disruption, economic inequality, rising national and personal debt, racism, and lack of food and health self-sufficiency. 

The virus itself revealed our brutality against the environment, as it originated in the wasteland between wild nature and urban culture. The coronavirus has revealed just how unsustainable our planetary lifestyle has become. 

But the crisis also revealed why we must no longer merely talk or protest against the failures of neo-liberal capitalism. Covid-19 has provoked us into standing up against injustice and organizing on a mass scale for deep social and economic transformation.  

This unique conference is focused on collaborative action for systems change. Through lectures, workshops, research and pathbreaking models for local, bioregional economies, we will co-create and step into this new economy, culture and world together. 

Time is running short. To survive and thrive, we must now come together to change the course of history, from the local to the global. Join us and take action!

If you or your organization would like to participate as a speaker or sponsor of the program, please contact us at:

Conference Topics

Relief, Survival and Resilience

  • Relief—how can we better provide immediate relief during pandemics and other crisis situations?
  • Water—how to protect local water from private corporations and how to utilize scarce water resources in a sustainable way?
  • Food—What are the most optimum strategies for local food self-sufficiency?
  • Energy—How can we utilize and increase the use of local renewable energy sources, such as hydro, solar, geo-thermal and wind? How to reduce the use of fossil fuel energy in factories, homes, construction and farming?

Climate Change, Ecology and the Local Economy

  • The deeper system failure in the market—what are the main lifestyle and market failures causing climate change and how can we best transition toward a sustainable energy future?
  • Local mitigation and adaptation—how to reduce Portugal’s, and, in particular, the Beira Interior areas carbon footprint? How to prepare for hotter temperatures in agriculture, tourism and industry?

Wealth and Resource Distribution

  • Need demonstrated is need met—how to provide people’s basic needs through increased purchasing power and sustainable use of resources on a local, regional and national level?
  • Resource and wealth distribution through economic democracy (private, public and cooperative)—how to distribute wealth through economic democracy and how to extract resources sustainably?

Bioregional Economies

  • Aligning political districts with natural boundaries—how to replace artificial political boundaries with political districts that align with the local bioregion and the local culture? What would the Covilha/Castelo Branco/Beira Baixa area look like if it became a bioregion? What would Portugal look like if it were organized into bioregions? What would Europe look like?
  • Resource and wealth distribution through economic democracy (private, public and cooperative)—how to distribute wealth through economic democracy and how to extract resources sustainably?
Systems Change through Local Economies