Blog

Welcome to our blog which aims to shed light on different aspects of the degrowth discourses and movement. In our older articles, there are also impressions and news from events such as the 2015 summer school on climate justice and the 2014 Degrowth conference. If you would like to comment on or contribute to the blog, please contact us at blog@degrowth.de.



What happens to wellbeing when economies do not grow?

By Andrew Fanning

Ten years ago G20 leaders committed a staggering $5 trillion of public funds to rescue the banks and restore growth during the largest economic contraction in modern times. The economies of an unprecedented number of countries — and their associated environmental footprints — experienced very low growth over the decade that followed.read more

Degrowth and transformation: a reflection

By Christos Zografos

This article is part of a series on degrowth.info discussing strategy in the degrowth movement. The introduction to the series and an ongoing list of contributions can be found here.

In a previous piece in this blog series, Joe Herbert and colleagues pointed out the “how to move towards a degrowth society” gap in degrowth discourse. As I have also come across this “how to get there” question in my own modest attempts to link direct democracy to degrowth (e.g. Zografos, 2015), I would like to contribute some thoughts and so try to expand the conversations started by those colleagues. In my case, I have been asking myself and my students whether direct democracy is the best political vehicle for advancing towards a radical socio-ecological transformation such as degrowth. Admittedly, I am probably less interested in “strategies” and more on the empirical question of how past radical socio-ecological transformations actually happened. But, I believe that answers to that question are closely linked to the project of charting out strategies of political action for degrowth transformations.

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Before strategy, who is strategising?

By Jocelyne Sze and Omar Saif

This article is part of a series on degrowth.info discussing strategy in the degrowth movement. The introduction to the series and an ongoing list of contributions can be found here.

In the article “Beyond visions and projects…”, by Herbert, Barlow, Frey, Ambach, and Cigna, the authors persuasively set out the case for a more explicit debate on strategy in the degrowth movement. Highlighting the umbrella nature of degrowth, its plurality and openness as positive (and we would add distinguishing) aspects of the movement, they problematise its resultant ‘strategic indeterminism’ as a possible barrier to moving towards a degrowth society.

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A regular conference is a convivial powwow that the degrowth community relies on

By the Support Group

In 2008, a few years after the birth of “décroissance” in France, we organized the first International Degrowth Conference for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity in Paris. Only ten years later, in 2018, we promoted three large international events in the same year: the 6th International Degrowth Conference in Malmö – following Barcelona, Venice, Leipzig and Budapest – as well as a macro-regional bilingual event with the first South-North-Degrowth conference in Mexico City and a thematic one in the European Union (EU) Parliament in Brussels. It was a risky, but successful bet for our small networks. We can observe that degrowth starts to play an important role in a broad range of notable academic and political discussions.read more

On strategies for socioecological transformation

By Panos Petridis

In a recent post, a group of authors expressed their concerns that degrowth risks being lost in pluralism and argued for the need to co-produce a mix of context-sensitive strategies. I believe this re-stirring of the debate on strategy in the degrowth movement is both relevant and timely. While I agree with many of the authors’ concerns, and proposals, I would here like to propose a somewhat different response.read more

A blog series on strategy in the degrowth movement

By Nathan Barlow

My colleagues and I wrote an initial blog post arguing that the question of strategy has received too little attention in the degrowth movement, and by degrowth scholars. Further, we observed that the discourse on strategy in degrowth was excessively plural, being open to all strategies in all contexts, rather than considering case-appropriateness (spatially, temporally, sectorally etc.).read more

Year end reflections on the Malmö degrowth conference 2018

By Clàudia Custòdio Martínez

The 6th International Degrowth Conference finished on Saturday, the 25th of August with a demonstration under the rain in the center of Malmö. Typical weather for the end of August in Sweden, and very welcomed after the past worryingly dry months.read more

Climate mitigation scenario – Contains growth and other normative substances

By Kai Kuhnhenn

We all use models in daily life to explain our environment. An example: I assume that a tree will grow provided it has sufficient water, nutrients and sun. I am using a simple model here, without understanding the nitty-gritty – what exactly happens in the roots, stem, leaves and cells.

Thinking in models is not only useful to understand our world, but also to solve problems. Let’s assume the tree is standing in front of my house. I know that when it’s bigger it will cast more and more shade on my house, thus reducing the sunlight reaching the rooms. If I am to prevent this, I can turn to my simple mental model and find out which factors I can and want to change in reality.read more

A Conference for Digitalization and Sustainability? Reflections on Bits & Bäume

By Nicolas Guenot, Nina Treu, Nick von Andrian

What could an alliance of techies and greens bring for a social, democratic and ecological future? The conference “Bits and Trees” (“Bits & Bäume” in German), which took place in Berlin on November 17th and 18th of this year, tried to shed light on this question. It brought together around 1.700 people interested and organized around digitalization and sustainability.read more

The birth of the degrowth movement

By Jean-Louis Aillon

In the past year, we have launched a survey worldwide for mapping degrowth realities in the world. 114 organisations answered to the call, with nearly 3,000 active people engaged, mostly located in Europe but also in North and South America, Philippines, Tunisia, Turkey, etc. read more

COP24: climate protesters must get radical and challenge economic growth

By Christine Corlet Walker

At the COP24 conference in Poland, countries are aiming to finalise the implementation plan for the 2015 Paris Agreement. The task has extra gravity in the wake of the recent IPCC report declaring that we have just 12 years to take the action needed to limit global warming to that infamous 1.5ᵒC target.read more

How do you degrow?

By Constanza Hepp

We live nextdoor to my partner’s grandmother, Maria, who was born during the Second World War in Northern Italy. This means that she knows what hard times look like. Maria could not believe we would be using washable diapers for our baby boy. With genuine surprise she asked me, “why?”, and then she was curious in which pot we were planning to boil the diapers. In her eyes, we could not possibly be choosing to use washable diapers – to her, an extinct garment reminiscent of poverty and manual labour – when there exists the comfort of the disposable. Therefore, it must be that we cannot afford disposable diapers. Needless to say, for the first six months of our son’s life, every time Maria went to the supermarket, she bought us a packet of disposable diapers.

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Degrowth as a concrete utopia

By Riccardo Mastini

Economic growth can’t reduce inequalities; it merely postpones confronting exploitation.

The emergence of interest in degrowth can be traced back to the 1st International Degrowth Conference organized in Paris in 2008. At this conference, degrowth was defined as a “voluntary transition towards a just, participatory, and ecologically sustainable society,” so challenging the dogma of economic growth. Another five international conferences were organized between 2010 and 2018, with the latest in Malmö in August.

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Gathering degrowth in the American pluriverse

By Sam Bliss

“When you told your friends and family you were going to a degrowth gathering, they asked, ‘What is degrowth?’ How did you respond?”

The 2018 degrowUS gathering from September 28-30 2018 in Chicago began with this question. The first day’s thirty-odd attendees wrote their responses on sticky notes as they scraped the last bites of lunch off the dishes the event’s organizers had told them to bring from home.read more

The Easy Way Out of Rebound Effects

By Blake Alcott

Environmental protection is needed because we take useful things out of nature and put useless or harmful things back in. The resulting depletion and pollution have reached harmful, unsustainable levels. We know that voluntary behaviour change, led by an elite that encourages, fosters and politely ‘nudges’ the masses, won’t do it. Legislated solutions are needed on the principle of ‘I will if you also have to’.
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