First Nations sovereignty, Environmental Justice, and Degrowth in Northwest BC, Canada

Abstract: Environmental Injustice has been intrinsic to Canadian extractivism, with First Nations displaced from their traditional territories and their cultural identity suppressed through an explicit policy of cultural genocide to make way for colonial extractivist practices. Likewise, this extractivism has long been legitimized in Canada through a rhetoric of economic growth. This paper presents an overview of Northwest Coast and Interior First Nations peoples anti-colonial struggles in British Columbia, Canada and demonstrates how First Nations struggles in BC for environmental defense, sovereignty, and traditional culture and governance deeply interweave shared objectives with both Environmental Justice and Degrowth.

Ecological Economics, Volume 162, August 2019, pp. 133-142

Another Economy is Possible: Culture and Economy in a Time of Crisis

Description on Throughout the Western world, governments and financial elites responded to the financial crisis of 2008 by trying to restore the conditions of business as usual, but the economic, social and human damage inflicted by the crisis has given rise to a reconsideration of the inevitability of unfettered capitalism as a fact of life. A number of economic practices and organizations emerged in Europe and the United States that embodied alternative values: the value of life over the value of money; the effectiveness of cooperation over cut-throat competition; the social responsibility of corporations and responsible regulation by governments over the short-term speculative strategies that brought the economy to the brink of catastrophe.

This book examines the blossoming of innovative new experiments in organizing work and life that emerged in the wake of the financial crisis: cooperatives, barter networks, ethical banking, community currencies, shared time banks, solidarity networks, sharing of goods, non-monetary transactions, etc., experiments that paved the way for the emergence of a sharing economy in all domains of activity oriented toward the satisfaction of human needs. Other innovations included the creation of cryptographic virtual currencies, epitomized by bitcoin, which blended a libertarian, entrepreneurial spirit with information technology to provide an alternative to standard forms of currency. On the basis of a cross-cultural analysis of alternative economic practices, this book develops an important theoretical argument: that the economy, as a human practice, is shaped by culture, and that the diversity of cultures, as revealed in a time of crisis, implies the possibility of different economies depending on the values and power relations that define economic institutions.

This book will be of great interest to students and scholars in sociology, economics and the social sciences generally, and to anyone who wishes to understand how our societies and economies are changing today.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Economy Is Culture, Sarah Banet-Weiser and Manuel Castells
Chapter 2: Economics Without Growth, Giorgos Kallis
Chapter 3: Analysis of Worldwide Community Economies for Sustainable Local Development, Sviatlana Hlebik
Chapter 4: Blockchain Dreams: Imagining Techno-economic Alternatives After Bitcoin, Lana Swartz
Chapter 5: Consumer Financial Services in the US: Why Banks May Not Be the Answer, Lisa Servon
Chapter 6: Commoning Against the Crisis, Angelos Varvarousis and Giorgos Kallis
Chapter 7: Alternative Economic Practices in Barcelona: Surviving the Crisis, Reinventing Life, Manuel Castells and Sviatlana Hlebik
Chapter 8: Imagining and Making Alternative Futures: Slow Cities as Sites for Anticipation and Trust, Sarah Pink and Kirsten Seale
Conclusion, Manuel Castells

ISBN: 978-1-5095-1721-3

Beyond (anti)utilitarianism: khat and alternatives to growth in northern Madagascar

Abstract: Madagascar has one of the lowest GDPs in the world. Colonization brought the country into the global economy, but left it at its margins—vulnerable to the hardships of structural adjustment and limitations of state infrastructure. This analysis reveals economic decision-making that defies the utilitarian logic of homo economicus and inspires creative thinking about alternatives to growth as a dominant paradigm. In northern Madagascar, the economy of the stimulant khat is part of one socionatural world characterized by low levels of production and consumption. Madagascar provides a case study for suggesting that “making a living” invokes an intricate web of material desires, cultural meaning, and social connections that do not necessarily revolve around a capitalist growth motive. This article proposes that a path to sustainability is not only in changing social imaginaries but also in valorizing and leveraging cognitive orientations and practices that exist but that may fall below the radar of traditional economic analysis.

Journal of Political Ecology 24: 582-594.

This is the ninth article in Lisa L. Gezon and Susan Paulson (eds.) 2017. “Degrowth, culture and power”, Special Section of the Journal of Political Ecology, 24: 425-666.

> Introduction and overview over other articles of the Special Section

Steering clear of politics: local virtues in Helsinki’s design activism

Abstract: Practical projects around the world are exploring and prefiguring ecologically feasible futures. The ideas informing these initiatives are familiar from degrowth discourses. But particularly where activists hail from the professional middle-classes of wealthy cities – architects, designers and other ‘creatives’ in Helsinki for example – they risk being dismissed by the media as well as by academics as vacuous life-style experimenters. Looking at Finland, the sense that this activity is not truly political or transformative can be further enhanced by activists’ own reluctance to enter into explicitly political debate and their preference for discussing futures in the neutral language of science. Connecting today’s situation to precursors in the 1960s, however, we can see how these local projects are embedded in local political culture, including a Finnish tendency to play up scientific rationality as a tool for managing collective affairs. This contrast with many other degrowth discourses shows the significance of local histories in influencing the space available for people to work out alternatives to the status quo.

Journal of Political Ecology 24: 566-581.

This is the eight article in Lisa L. Gezon and Susan Paulson (eds.) 2017. “Degrowth, culture and power”, Special Section of the Journal of Political Ecology, 24: 425-466.

> Introduction and overview over other articles of the Special Section

Making degrowth locally meaningful: the case of the Faroese grindadráp

Abstract: While the doxa of growth continues to dominate mainstream understandings of what constitutes a healthy economy, the concept and agenda of degrowth beg for theorization about how culture and power render some economic strategies more viable and meaningful than others. In this article we discuss the highly contested practice of Faroese pilot whaling, grindadráp. Through autoethnographic methods we identify and analyze forces challenging this deep-rooted practice, both within and outside Faroese society. Faroese resistance to abandon the practice, expressed in local pro-whaling narratives suggest that, in the struggle to legitimize the grindadráp as a sustainable and eco-friendly practice, Faroese people are simultaneously deconstructing central tenets of the global food system, and comparing grindadráp favorably with the injustices and cruelties of industrial food procurement. In this sense, we argue that the grindadráp not only constitutes a locally meaningful alternative to growth-dominated economic practices, but may also, in this capacity, inspire Faroese people to reduce engagement with economic activities that negatively impact the environment and perpetuate social and environmental injustices in the world.

Journal of Political Ecology 24: 504-518.

This is the fifth article in Lisa L. Gezon and Susan Paulson (eds.) 2017. “Degrowth, culture and power”, Special Section of the Journal of Political Ecology, 24: 425-xxx

> Introduction and overview over other articles of the Special Section

Relocation and social federalist against the relocation nationalist

From the introduction: Regulatory policy can develop relocated to reduce the carbon footprint and ecological footprint and various pollutants. Regulation relocated, also promotes economic and political autonomy, locality, region or country. Local economic
development, social and environmental, must take into account the cultural identity, autonomy and basic needs according Preiswerk. Development (qualitative) and growth (quantitative) is needed in the countries and populations for which the satisfaction of basic needs has not been reached and that the ecological footprint per capita is below the maximum threshold the Per capita ecological footprint (1.8 ha/capita in 2005). Face control relocated environmentalists, some forms of anti-globalization brought by associations such Attac promote the strengthening of international organizations such as the UN and runs the risk of excessive centralism. Internationalism, tends to dissolve nations to create a humanity under the direction of a global government and non-government international, which implies that there are still nations.
However, economic autonomy, regulation and social ecologist relocated, does not mean nationalistic egoism. A share of the wealth, production and services can continue to be exchanged between countries, with the aim of solidarity (without interference) and produce essential goods that can not be created on the spot. Redistribution of wealth in local, regional, national and international goes along with the regulation and relocated some protectionism. In contrast, the latter and the redistribution should not be diverted and loans should not become debt to ensure political and economic domination, as is the case of the IMF to the poorest countries and now some European nations.

Contribution to the 3rd International Degrowth Conference for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity in Venice in 2012.

Lässt sich Klimapolitik in CO2-Ausstoß bemessen?

“Bis vor kurzem noch hätten Begriffe wie „CO2-Bilanz“, „CO2-Fußabdruck“ oder „CO2-Ausgleich“ nur fragende Blicke in der allgemeinen Öffentlichkeit hervorgerufen. Inzwischen sind sie in aller Munde, ganz unabhängig von der Frage, ob sie den notwendigen Klimaschutzzielen überhaupt dienlich sind oder nicht. „Carbon metrics“ sind das Maß aller Dinge in der internationalen Umweltpolitik….”

Artikel aus dem Degrowth-Blog auf, erschienen im Januar 2016

Diesen Beitrag gibt es auch auf Englisch

Beyond Paris: avoiding the trap of carbon metrics

Until recently terms like “carbon accounting,” “carbon footprint” and “carbon offsetting” would have raised some quizzical eyebrows among the general public. Today, such carbon-based metrics are everywhere, but are they helpful or unhelpful in motivating the necessary action on climate change?

This article discusses the impact of the carbon metrics approach on global climate governance

Blogpost published on the Degrowth-Blog on, 10 February 2016

This article is also available in German

Neither protectionism nor neoliberalism but “open relocalization”, the basis for a new International

From the text: Will they call for a return to protectionism? Try to regulate the markets? Attempt to rein in unemployment by prioritizing economic growth, regardless of the cost? The Left seems to have run out of ideas for social and economic initiatives that are at once sound, liberating, and environmentally sustainable. Faced with such lack of vision, calls to “relocalize” the economy start to look appealing. But what we need is open and altruistic relocalization, the kind that, unlike worrisome and dangerous tendencies toward insularity, can actually “reestablish the right balance of efficiency, power, well-being, autonomy and conviviality.” Here is our viewpoint, to kick-start debate.

Translation of the French text published on Bastamag: Ni protectionnisme, ni néolibéralisme mais une « relocalisation ouverte », base d’une nouvelle internationale – Bastamag – 4 November 2015

Décroissance Montréal/Montreal Degrowth – Ohenton Karihwatehkwen – Mohawk Thanksgiving address/Mots de grâce

Décroissance Montréal/Montreal Degrowth – Ohenton Karihwatehkwen – Mohawk Thanksgiving address/Mots de grâce from Geoffrey Garver on Vimeo.

Mohawk Thanksgiving address at the International Conference on Degrowth in the Americas in Montreal 2012.

The Thanksgiving is first presented in the native language. The speaker then gives a translation and explanation. After the thanksgiving comes a speech by one member of the community about colonial history, imbalance then and today in the world as well as in the mind.

El descrecimiento en México

No abstract available

Dimensions of learning for a degrowth society

Panel discussion at the 4th International Degrowth Conference for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity in Leipzig in 2014.
Speakers: Helena Norberg-Hodge, Bertrand Stern, Barbara Muraca
Facilitation: Jeremias Herberg

From the conference programme: On this panel people from different backgrounds discuss new concepts for education. The debate builds on the critique of the current educational system, which is a catalyser for growth societies worldwide. New educational concepts can be the basis for a transformation towards a degrowth society. The panel is an introduction to the complex topic, while single aspects can be deepened during the conference with the help of different formats and methods.

Teko Arandu: New Paths Towards a Sustainable Future. A case-study about the Brazilian Guarani-Kaiowás

Abstract: Teko Arandu is an expression from the Tupi-Guarani language which can be translated as ‘living with wisdom.’ Its meaning embraces the different ontological perspectives that these peoples have about the world, the humankind and nature, which reflect their cosmological systems and specific relations with their ancestral lands. In discourses about sustainability this kind of traditional wisdom might be a crucial resort to widen the possibilities of creating significant sustainable futures with a different set of values that do not follow the Western-modern rush for economic growth and technological development. The preservation of cultural diversity is an important step to enable new visions and strategies for transformation in the discourses about sustainability. In this sense, the Teko Arandu is a concept that indicates how new directions for sustainability can influence and be influenced by the case of the Brazilian indigenous group Guarani-Kaiowá.
Keywords: cultural diversity, sustainability, indigenous heritage

Analysis of Change- Intercultural Design Exchange Germany and Japan – Approaching the Question of Future Living

Abstract: This is the topic this paper wants to discuss in the context of Tokyo, which is characterized by Roland Barthes as a city without a center. After the enormous growth in the second half of the twentieth century of Tokyo, we have to discuss the De-growth and the chance for future living at different examples found in Japan and Germany. In summary, this paper focuses on the question in which way can we transform the shrinking city for a better life, with more community space and less marginalization? The young generation of architects who concentrate on issues of social integration as an integral element of architectural processes are focusing on the connections of gardens and dwelling spaces, the integration of the surroundings into the architecture and the constant interaction of exterior and interior.
Keywords: Future Living, Japan, Germany, Cultural Diversity and Design Approach

This media entry was a contribution to the special session “Less is more (space) – changing regions in Japan and Germany” at the 4th International Degrowth Conference in Leipzig in 2014.

There is no paper for this media entry. This was a contribution to a scientific session at the 4th International Degrowth Conference in Leipzig in 2014, which doesn’t exist in written format or is not published under open access.

A spatial Anthropology of the Changing Use of Urban Spaces in Tokyo, Japan

Abstract: Cities like Tokyo face recently new, complex urban challenges. However, responses to the changing urban space are often reflected in the emergence of new cultural revivals or the forging of unknown, hybrid subcultures, which can be understood when studying the diverse ways people (re-) interpret small urban places in relationship to their changing lifestyles. This paper will discuss the development of hybrid lifestyles of young artists and creatives, families and elderly found and studied in two local neighbourhoods in central Tokyo, asking how are these creative practices and small urban places shape Tokyo’s changing urban landscape? The paper will discuss specific examples of urban practices which take place within the dynamic urban landscape of contemporary Tokyo and can – when analysed and understood – offer new approaches for hybrid and multi-generation living.
Keywords: Hybrid Lifestyles, Growth and De-growth in Tokyo, Small Urban Niches

This media entry was a contribution to the special session “Less is more (space) – changing regions in Japan and Germany” at the 4th International Degrowth Conference in Leipzig in 2014.