Reel and Meal at the New Deal

Reel and Meal is a monthly film series at the New Deal Cafe exploring vital environmental, animal rights, and social justice issues. Admission to the film is always free, sponsored by several Greenbelt community organizations. Contributions are gladly accepted to cover each month’s donation to a non-profit organization.

Date: Third Monday of every month
Time: We offer a delicious vegan meal for $14 at 6:30pm. The free film starts at 7pm.
Location: New Deal Cafe – 113 Centerway in historic Greenbelt, MD
Public transportation: The cafe is accessible by Metro Buses G12, 13, 14 and 16 from the Greenbelt Metro station.


February 21, 2011

What’s the Economy for, Anyway? is narrated by ecological economist Dave Batker. He offers a humorous, edgy, factual and highly visual analysis of today’s American economy. Challenging the ways we measure economic success, the film questions whether Gross Domestic Product is an adequate measure of society’s well-being and suggests workable alternatives. It has won praise as an engaging and funny treatment of a serious, complicated subject. This month’s discussion leader will be Dr. Brian Czech, President of CASSE, the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy, a group engaged in both academic study and citizen action.

Produced by John de Graaf, well known for Affluenza, the 40-minute documentary compares the U.S. economy with that of other industrial countries in terms of quality of life, fairness and ecological sustainability. Conclusion: we come out near the bottom in nearly every category. Batker shines a humorous light on such economic buzzwords as “productivity,” and “consumer sovereignty,” while offering ideas for a new economic paradigm that meets the real needs of people and the planet. What’s the Economy for, Anyway? leads to a follow-up question: What can citizens do to help put our economy on a better new track?

Brian Czech will briefly outline the work of Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE) and facilitate a Q&A period about the issues raised in the film and the ways we may all work for a sustainable economic alternative. Its website sums up the CASSE position thus: “We stand up for rational macroeconomic policies. Continuous economic growth on a finite planet is wishful thinking. We confront the truth that there are limits to growth, and we examine other possibilities … The mission of CASSE is to advance the steady state economy, with stabilized population and consumption, as a policy goal.”

Brian Czech is the founder and President of CASSE, a Visiting Professor at Virginia Tech, and a Conservation Biologist in the national office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona, an M.S. from the University of Washington, and a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin. A prolific author in a variety of print and electronic venues, his scientific articles have appeared in dozens of peer-reviewed journals, reflecting the breadth of his work in ecological and economic sustainability. His books include Shoveling Fuel for a Runaway Train, which calls for an end to uneconomic growth, and The Endangered Species Act: History, Conservation Biology, and Public Policy. He is a regular contributor to the Daly News, a blog devoted to advancing the steady state economy as a goal with widespread public support.

This month’s program is organized by the Peace & Justice Coalition of Prince George’s County. For more information contact Lucy Duff at or 301-577-2350.