Degrowth Vienna 2020 – Effective Strategies towards the Good Life for All within planetary boundaries


Based on a thesis paper inspired by Polanyi´s reflections on “freedom in a complex society” the workshop discusses effective strategies for a Good Life for All within planetary boundaries. The thesis paper proposes three new pillars for more effective strategies: (1) acknowledging the importance of a strong state that enables public-civic partnerships, (2) overcoming the focus on niche alternatives that lead in localist traps and (3) elaborating multiscalar strategies of selective economic globalization.

Presenters: Andreas Novy (WU Vienna), Dirk Holemans (Oikos, Green European Foundation)

Language: English

Technical details:

WS A6_Andreas_Novy_Good Life for All.mp4, MPEG-4 video, 198MB

WS A6_Effective Strategies towards the Good Life for All _trimmed.mp4, MPEG-4 video, 60.2MB

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Degrowth Vienna 2020 – Structure, Action and Change: A Bourdieusian Perspective on the Preconditions for a Degrowth transition

Presentation [part of the standard session “Theories of Transformation“]

A deprioritization of economic growth in policy making in the rich countries will need to be part of a global effort to re-embed economy and society into planetary boundaries. However, societal support for a degrowth transition remains for the time being moderate, and it is not well understood as yet why this is the case. This paper argues that Pierre Bourdieu’s sociology can help theorize societal stability and transformational change as well as the preconditions for a degrowth transition.

Presenters: Max Koch (Lund University)

Language: English with translation to German

Technical details: Standard A4_Max Koch_Structure, Action and Change_ A Bourdieusian Perspective on the Preconditions for a Degrowth transition.mp4, MPEG-4 video, 66.1MB

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Arithmetic, Population and Energy

Professor Bartlett has given his celebrated one-hour lecture, “Arithmetic, Population and Energy: Sustainability 101” over 1,742 times times to audiences with an average attendance of 80 in the United States and world-wide. His audiences have ranged from junior high school and college students to corporate executives and scientists, and to congressional staffs. He first gave the talk in September, 1969, and subsequently has presented it an average of once every 8.5 days for 36 years. His talk is based on his paper, “Forgotten Fundamentals of the Energy Crisis,” originally published in the American Journal of Physics, and revised in the Journal of Geological Education.

Professor Al Bartlett began his one-hour talk with the statement, “The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.”

He then gave a basic introduction to the arithmetic of steady growth, including an explanation of the concept of doubling time. He explained the impact of unending steady growth on the population of Boulder, of Colorado, and of the world. He then examined the consequences steady growth in a finite environment and observed this growth as applied to fossil fuel consumption, the lifetime of which is much shorter than the optimistic figures most often quoted.

He proceeded to examine oddly reassuring statements from “experts”, the media and political leaders – statements that are dramatically inconsistent with the facts. He discussed the widespread worship of economic growth and population growth in western society. Professor Bartlett explaind “sustainability” in the context of the First Law of Sustainability:

“You cannot sustain population growth and / or growth in the rates of consumption of resources.”

The talk brought the listener to understand and appreciate the implications of unending growth on a finite planet, and closed noting the crucial need for education on the topic.

Life within Planetary Boundaries, Agroforestry (Part 2)

Original title: Leva inom planetgränserna del 2, Agroforestry

How can we meet our basic human needs, while improving the health of the ecosystems that we are part of? In this part 2 of the film, some of Sweden’s and England’s leading pioneers in Agroforestry explain how we, through our food production, can play a key role in healing ecosystems, creating food security, new jobs and an improved quality of life. In fact – we are the ones that we have been waiting for! A huge THANK YOU for your contribution to the film: Phlipp Weiss, Johanna Björklund, Martin Wolfe, Martin Crawford, Sanya Falkenstrand, Dante Hellström and others.

Said about the film, “I love the idea that humans are NOT just hopeless parasites but could also be the agent of change for good … It’s a great movie, I really enjoyed it – and it’s so full of hope.” – Jeremy Gugenheim, Outhouse Filmworks.

Hur kan vi tillgodose våra mänskliga grundbehov samtidigt som vi stärker hälsan i de ekosystem som vi är en del av? I denna del 2 av filmen berättar några av Sveriges och Englands främsta pionjärer inom Agroforestry hur vi genom vår maproduktion kan få en nyckelroll i att läka ekosystem, skapa matsäkerhet, jobb och ökad livskvalité. Vi är helt enkelt de vi har väntat på! Ett gigantiskt TACK för er medverkan: Phlipp Weiss, Johanna Björklund, Martin Wolfe, Martin Crawford, Sanya Falkenstrand, Dante Hellström med flera.

Sagt om filmen, “I love the idea that humans are NOT just hopeless parasites but could also be the agent of change for good…It is a great film, I really enjoyed it – and it is so full of hope” – Jeremy Gugenheim, Outhouse Filmworks.

Life within Planetary Boundaries, Down to Earth (Part 1)

Original title: Leva inom planetgränserna, Ett jordat liv.

The film is based on interviews with author and journalist David Jonstad and agronomist and research leader Johanna Björklund, who guides us away from the utopia of eco-modernism: that with new technology we could live on as today, but in a sustainable way. Together they explain how we can “democratize survival” through sharing the land more equally, with a relocalization to the country side and with a food production system based on Agroforestry, and how that could put us in a position where we actively improve and restore the ecosystem’s health, build resilience to extreme weather and deal with declining natural resources.

Oljeepokens slut är en påminnelse om att det inte är vi människor som sätter gränserna. Naturen gör det åt oss. Utan att vi märker det, upptagna som vi är, med att komma överens om hur långt vi kan sträcka oss, för klimatets skull. Hur kan vi anpassa oss? Istället för att hålla krampaktigt kvar vid det som har varit?

Director, editing, production: Maja Lindström, Drone photography: Lars Nordén. Photo, interviews: Jonas Embring. Environmental photography: J. Embring, M. Lindström, PH. Mäenpää. Sound: M. Lindström, L. Nordén. Music: Jessica Pehrson, Claes Nygren, Jenny Säflund etc. With support from the Swedish Arts Grants Committee.


‘Revolution’ is a song by French band ‘Dub Inc’ from their 2013 album ‘Paradise’


Welcome inna di land
Bouchkour pon the mic on more time come back again
Welcome inna di land
Ready and go! Let the music play again

I need a revolution.
A revolution, a new direction!
Let’s stop the pollution
It’s time to change the way
I want to stay in my garden.
I’m staying hidden, inna di garden!
I found a protection,
Back to the roots is the way to grow!

Nous ne sommes qu’une petite part parmi tant d’autres sur cette sphère,
Au fond qu’un animal parmi tant d’autres mammifères,
En fait une bête féroce qui n’a plus d’adversaire,
Juste un roi sans couronne régnant seul sur notre terre.

On a, poussé les limites de manière volontaire.
On va, gaspiller ce qu’il risque pour faire des affaires.
On a, enfoui notre âme comme les déchets qu’on enterre,
Notre avenir on condamne si maintenant l’on désespère.

Reproduire nos erreurs comme à chaque fois,
Bâtir un monde meilleur qu’on ne voit pas,
Epuiser nos ressources mais de quel droit?
Pour que tourne ce monde.
On a conçu des machines de guerre, on a détruit des forets entières
Et on a extrait l’or de la mer,
Et maintenant tout s’effondre.

Mère de toute nation, terre en perdition,
Ne pouvant pas soigner ses maux.
Je rêve d’une révolution, des arbres en factions,
Et inversant le cours des choses.
Peur de ce qu’on laisse aux notres,
Sur le visage des autres, elle se devine.
L’air qu’on respire ne trompe pas,
L’avenir est notre et se dessine.

Vois l’avenir qu’on laisse aux futures générations,
Aux vues des conséquences il n’y a pas de rédemption,
Anticiper la suite face à la pollution,
Si proche du précipice, il faut que nous stoppions!
Si à travers les champs s’étend ce poison,
Que les graines d’aujourd’hui se meurent juste en poussant,
Pendant que l’on s’agite, en scrutant l’horizon,
Avant que tout s’effrite prenons le bon tournant.

De quoi parlons nous et de quel avenir?
Je sens tourner le vent!
Et dans les nuages on peut lire,
Nos excès et comportements!
Sommes-nous devenus fous sans pouvoir réagir?
Proche de l’internement!
Notre devoir nous réunir,
D’Asie d’Afrique ou d’occident!

Welcome inna di land
Bouchkour pon the mic on more time come back again
Welcome inna di land
Ready and go, Let the music play again

Disarray in global governance and climate change chaos

Scientists warn that human activity in the Anthropocene is causing the transgression of several planetary boundaries. The population/environment/development equation has become insoluble. This paper reviews the trajectory of climate change and discusses the shortcomings of ongoing efforts to address it. It analyzes the current crisis in global governance, fostered by widespread disenchantment with globalization, and reflects on the risks that the resulting political imbroglio presents for our environmental future. Global responses are ineffective due to crumbling multilaterism and the continuing promotion of unsustainable economic growth based on consumerism. Discontent with the consequences of globalization has destabilized national governance and, in the process, further corroded prospects for effective global governance in facing symbiotic social, political and environmental crises. Frustration with globalization is providing media populists a platform from which to attract voters with naive schemes that highlight climate change denial. Potential pathways and obstacles for multilateralism in efforts to resolve the current crisis are blurred. Blind faith in technology, negationism, and the pervasiveness of the consumer culture further hamper awareness raising. Unfortunately, voters, institutions and policies may only adjust when the intensification of climate disasters forces a sea change in outlook.

Brazilian Journal of Population Studies, Vol. 36, pp. 1-30, 2019

Gouverner la décroissance – Politiques de l’anthropocène III

La décroissance peut-elle devenir un modèle politique alternatif et réaliste ?

Face au risque d’effondrement qui pèse sur nos sociétés industrielles, cet ouvrage défend de nouvelles voies fondées sur la tempérance et le ralentissement : instauration d’un revenu de transition écologique, adossement de la création monétaire aux limites de la planète, rationnement équitable des énergies fossiles, développement de la permaculture, partage du travail, etc. Il présente certaines expérimentations, telle la biorégion de Cascadia, en Californie du Nord.

Bien gouverner la décroissance plutôt que la subir : une nouvelle histoire politique peut s’écrire, où les perspectives ouvertes ne sont pas celles de la crise mais de l’inventivité.

A humanidade já ultrapassou os limites da resiliência do Planeta

A apresentação “Os limites da resiliência do Planeta e o decrescimento demoeconômico”, exposta e debatida no XXI Encontro Nacional de Estudos Populacionais, da ABEP, ocorrido em 25 de setembro de 2018, teve como base uma tese, uma antítese e uma síntese, como mostrado a seguir:

Tese: O crescimento demoeconômico no Antropoceno (últimos 250 anos) possibilitou uma grande acumulação de capital e riqueza, gerando concentração de renda, mas redução da pobreza e da fome, predomínio dos regimes democráticos, aumento do IDH e da esperança de vida da humanidade (Hans Rosling e Stephen Pinker)

Antítese: O enriquecimento humano (via capitalismo ou socialismo) ocorreu às custas do empobrecimento do meio ambiente e do desequilíbrio climático. O aumento das atividades antrópicas ultrapassou os limites da resiliência da Terra. Houve um decrescimento da vida natural e selvagem e uma alteração da química da biosfera, o que pode provocar um colapso ambiental global. O ecocídio leva ao suicídio da humanidade e ao colapso civilizacional (Heinberg e Luiz Marques)

Síntese: Somente o decrescimento demoeconômico pode colocar a Pegada Ecológica em equilíbrio com a Biocapacidade até se chegar ao Estado Estacionário, ecologicamente sustentável, com regeneração ecológica e aumento da resiliência (Daly, Alcott e Wahl)

(Introdução do autor)

Qual é o número ideal de humanos sobre a Terra?

Muitas pessoas, recorrentemente, perguntam qual é o número ideal de humanos sobre a Terra?Contudo, em geral, a maioria fica frustrada ao saber que não existe um número mágico como resposta. Globalmente, o número ideal de humanos depende de vários condicionantes econômicos e éticos. O primeiro condicionante econômico é o padrão de vida. O número de pessoas que a Terra pode sustentar depende do modo de produção e consumo adotado por estas pessoas.
(Introdução do autor)

Decrescimento. Uma perspectiva de esquerda sobre as crises socioambientais (I)

Do autor: “Este é o primeiro de uma série de seis artigos sobre as crises socioambientais contemporâneas e suas possíveis soluções ou mitigações numa perspectiva de decrescimento administrado. Essa perspectiva afigura-se hoje como a mais consequente, talvez a única efetiva para uma sociedade viável.”


movum – Heft 10: Effizienz und Suffizienz

Heft 10 des Magazins movum> zum Thema Effizienz und Suffizienz

Kurzbeschreibung: Effizienz allein bringt keine substanzielle Reduktion von Ressourcenverbrauch, Emissionen und Abfällen. Wir brauchen auch Suffizienz – die Befreiung vom “Immer mehr”. Und zwar nicht individuell, sondern als Politik.

Das Heft als PDF

CO2-Budget ist nur mit Systemwandel einzuhalten

Einführung: 2015 hat Österreich bei der UN-Klimakonferenz in Paris ein begrenztes CO2-Budget zugeteilt bekommen. Das bedeutet, Österreich darf „nur“ noch 880 Millionen Tonnen Kohlendioxid (CO2) emittieren. Dem hat die Regierung zugestimmt, aber Vizekanzler Mitterlehner hat auch durchblicken lassen, dass die Regierung nie vorhatte, dieses verbindliche Klimaziel von Paris auch einzuhalten.

Zweiter von vier Teilen einer Serie. Alle Artikel aus der Serie:
Teil 1: Entscheidung im „Anthropozän“: Profite oder Zukunft?
Teil 2: CO2-Budget ist nur mit Systemwandel einzuhalten
Teil 3: Das kapitalistische System zerstören, nicht das Klima!
Teil 4: Degrowth: Unterschiedliche Strategien, dieselben Kämpfe

Entscheidung im „Anthropozän“: Profite oder Zukunft?

Einführung: Über der modernen Zivilisation schwebt das Henkersbeil und der Henker heißt Kapitalismus. Die Erde ist in eine neue erdgeschichtliche Epoche eingetreten. Als Bezeichnung wird sich wahrscheinlich das Zeitalter „Anthropozän“ durchsetzen. Damit will die Wissenschaft deutlich machen, dass menschliche Einflüsse dafür verantwortlich sind, dass wir die zivilisationsfreundliche Epoche des „Holozäns“ verlassen haben.

Erster von vier Teilen einer Serie. Alle Artikel aus der Serie:
Teil 1: Entscheidung im „Anthropozän“: Profite oder Zukunft?
Teil 2: CO2-Budget ist nur mit Systemwandel einzuhalten
Teil 3: Das kapitalistische System zerstören, nicht das Klima!
Teil 4: Degrowth: Unterschiedliche Strategien, dieselben Kämpfe

Degrowth: Für eine planetarische Grenzen respektierende solidarische Politik

“Versuche, das Wachstum des Bruttoinlandsprodukts (BIP) von Umweltindikatoren wie den ökologischen Fußabdrücken von Produktion und Konsumtion sowie Treibhausgasemissionen absolut und auf globalem Niveau zu entkoppeln, sind bis dato gescheitert (Jackson 2017). Das auf Wirtschaftswachstum setzende, energie- und stoffintensive westliche Wohlstandsmodell lässt sich nicht auf den Rest der Erde übertragen (Fritz/Koch 2016). Im Gegenteil, es unterminiert die Lebensbedingungen anderer Erdteile und kommender Generationen. Für den neurechten Diskurs versteht es sich gewissermaßen von selbst, dass der Wohlstand deutscher oder europäischer Bürger*innen vorrangiger ist als der von anderen Menschen auf diesem Planeten und deshalb zur Not mit Waffengewalt bewahrt werden muss. Eine zeitgemäße linke Antwort fällt da schon schwerer. Will sich die Linke wirklich vom neurechten Diskurs absetzen, indem sie sich für das Wohlergehen aller aktuellen und zukünftigen Erdbewohner*innen einsetzt, bleibt nichts, als einen möglichst sozial inklusiven Degrowth-Prozess zu unterstützen, mitzugestalten und schließlich einzuleiten. Dessen Zielsetzung ist es, dass am Ende die Produktions- und Konsumtionsmuster Deutschlands und Europas kompatibel mit ökologischen Grenzen sind und Entwicklungsspielraum für andere Teile der Welt lassen. Im Folgenden skizziere ich, wie wir in die gegenwärtige Krise geraten sind und welche ökologisch-sozialen Politikstrategien jenseits des kapitalistischen Wachstumsparadigmas zu ihrer Überwindung in Betracht kommen.”
(aus der Einleitung)