Welcome to our blog. Here, you can find a variety of articles, from the relevance of degrowth in/for current affairs and contemporary political and social movements, until the impressions and news from events such as the international degrowth conference in Malmö in 2018. If you would like to comment on or contribute to the blog, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s harder? Raising 46.000 Euros in short time or at last starting a big debate about the future of a fossil fuel-dependent region? For the organizing team of the Degrowth Summer School, both were great challenges… Christopher Laumanns reports.read more
The left’s strange bedfellows
Over a year ago I lived in Barcelona, where I was lucky enough to witness a social movement—in large part fuelled by cooperatives, squats, and other autonomous spaces—win the mayoral elections. I had spent the year being involved with a group that studies and advocates ‘degrowth’—the idea that we must downscale production and consumption to have a more equitable society, and that we therefore must dismantle the ideology of ‘economic growth at all costs.’ As you can imagine, they spend much of their time trying to clear up misconceptions: “no, we’re not against trees growing. Yes, we also would like children to grow. Yes, we also like nice things like healthcare.”read more
For the third year in a row, the Degrowth Summer School is being held on the Climate Camp in the Rhineland. It runs from the 18th to 23rd of August. Just 10 days before the start of the Summer School the foundation „Stiftung Umwelt und Entwicklung Nordrhein-Westfalen“ has cancelled our funding. The reason they‘ve given us: The Summer School takes place too close to actions of civil disobedience in the Rhineland. Now we‘re suddenly missing 46.000 Euros of our budget.read more
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.
One argument of those who defend growth is that growth is the natural and inevitable course of the economy. Liberated from governmental or other restrictions, and left to their own powers, entrepreneurs will make an economy grow, as they are endlessly inventive in growing their own incomes. Growth is then seen as the natural product of a free, ‘self-regulated market’. read more
A highly relevant subject for degrowth
Apparently, everybody is talking about digitalization. It was the central topic at the last World Economic Summit in Davos; recently, two German ministries have published White Papers (BMWE, BMAS) on the issue, and it’s all over newspapers and magazines. It is said to revolutionize not only industrial production (Industry 4.0) but almost any aspect of our lives: Digital devices change the way we consume (online-shopping), we communicate (social media), our mobility forms (car and bike sharing, autonomous cars) and the way we organize our communities (smart cities). read more
Every day we are bombarded with frightening news. But how do we personally feel about them and how can we deal with them as society as a whole? Which future do I actually want for myself, for the world and for my children? And how are my personal feelings and motivations connected to the larger picture? What frightens me, what makes me angry and how can I transform these feelings into a source of power and energy for change? read more
Anthropological thoughts on degrowth
Degrowth energizes and interconnects remarkably heterodox thinking and surprisingly heterogeneous action. To advance dialogue among diverse pathways, a recent Journal of Political Ecology issue on “Degrowth, Culture and Power” joins studies of 15 initiatives to forge worlds that prioritize well-being, equity and sustainability rather than expansion.read more
Should arguments for degrowth be anthropocentric or ecocentric? And what does this mean in practice? There is an interesting discussion going on, starting with two recent court rulings in New Zealand and India about rivers being granted personal rights. We present an article by Ashish Kothari, Mari Margil and Shrishtee Bajpai, first published for The Guardian.
There is a wide range of emancipatory alternatives working towards a social-ecological transformation. It is more important than ever to underline this. From Brexit, to the AfD (Alternative für Deutschland) in Germany, to Trump —the current political turmoil is a clear sign of the discontent that exists with the prevailing system, and that expresses itself through a societal shift towards the right and a strengthening or increased visibility of racist, misogynist, homophobic and transphobic worldviews and violence. These shifts are often interpreted as a desire or search for an alternative to the dominating political and economic system, as a regressive answer to unfettered globalisation, economisation and impoverishment. But there are also thousands of other alternatives; emancipatory and solidarity-based alternatives which respect the dignity of all human beings.
Call for participation
On 7 and 8 July 2017, the Leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) will meet in Hamburg. This self-styled club of 19 of the most powerful economies in the world and the EU claims to fight global crises. However, reality reveals a different picture:
If you’ve ever dreamt of the good life for all based on everybody’s individual skills and needs, free from domination and in mutual appreciation and cooperation, you’ve got the chance now to help make this dream come true: from 21 to 25 June around 1000 people will be getting together in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, North-East Germany, to “design the future, de-grow growth and live utopia” in a spirit of openness, trust and emancipation.
Historical roots of current debates on sustainable degrowth
The future of economic growth is one of the decisive challenges of the twenty-first century. Though beginning at different times in different places, during the last two centuries, overall global economic growth has profoundly transformed life of humans and of the rest of nature. Today, societies, economies, and cultures are essentially built on the expectation of continuing future growth. read more