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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
“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
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’.
Degrowth: lost in plurality?
There seems to exist a gap in the degrowth discourse around the question of how to move towards a degrowth society. This brings to our attention an important concept – that of strategy. Here, we will use the word ‘strategy’ to refer to how the ends (i.e. a degrowth society) is achieved by the means. Having spent a number of years probing into the degrowth discourse and literature, we found it to be seemingly open to all strategies for pursuing radical transformation towards a socially and ecologically sustainable degrowth society. However, there is little debate on which strategy – or mix of strategies – might be more effective in different contexts (geographical, institutional, sectoral, cultural, etc.). Therefore, we argue that degrowth’s articulation of how the ends can be achieved by the means, can roughly be characterised by a ‘strategic indeterminance’.
This and many other questions around European politics were discussed at the first Post-growth conference, which took place at the EU Parliament on September 18 and 19. Hosted by ten Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from five party families, it attracted around 600 people to Brussels. Through panel (and solely panel) discussions, they engaged in debates around economic models, technology, climate policies, eco-suffiency vs. -effiencieny, basic income, wage bargaining, financial regulation, trade, taxes, money and markets. The debates between members of the European Commission and scientists or NGO representatives were always facilitated by a MEP.read more
Please find below a text published in The Guardian and also in several European Countries. More than 200 academics call on the European Union and its member states to plan for a post-growth future in which human and ecological wellbeing is prioritised over GDP. More than 78,000 people already singed the petition “Europe, It’s Time to End the Growth Dependency”
This week, scientists, politicians, and policymakers are gathering in Brussels for a landmark conference. The aim of this event, organised by members of the European parliament from five different political groups, alongside trade unions and NGOs, is to explore possibilities for a “post-growth economy” in Europe.read more