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Abstract: In this paper, I explore the potential for challenges to growth, in material and symbolic terms, presenting examples of recent environmental conflicts and policy debates in the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico relating to construction in coastal areas, where a crony state coalesces with a corrupt business sector to promote the enclosure and destruction of coastal ecosystems and the eviction of low-income communities to facilitate construction projects as the main strategy for economic growth. The paper shows how different movements challenge government-corporate proposals of exclusive mega-hotels and residential complexes by offering concrete alternatives based on a grassroots concept of community-based ‘sustainable development’ that emphasizes public access to the beach, community permanence, conservation of high-value natural areas, community involvement in the management of these areas, and community-based eco-tourism.
Keywords: de-growth, common-pool resources, social movements, community-based resource management
Narrative step: strategies for transformation

This media entry was a contribution to the special session “Challenges to growth from the South: Conflicts and alternatives” at the 4th International Degrowth Conference in Leipzig in 2014.