Ecological economics: solutions for the future

This book results from the 2019 ANZSEE conference, which explored appropriate approaches and techniques for re-balancing the human–nature interactions that are central to the study and practice of ecological economics — solutions now and in the future.  Escalating impacts of climate change and ecological crises have created an urgency to address significant local to global environmental and social problems — degrading forests and agricultural land, polluted waterways and oceans, and dislocated social and cultural systems. A number of presenters to the conference including executives on the board of ANZSEE have contributed chapters to the book.

Ecosocialism and/or degrowth?

Should the ecological left aim to reduce all consumption, or to radically transform the prevalent type of consumption?

 

The role of work in a sustainable society

“A societal change towards sustainability, can not succeed without a transformation of work and society based around work, so becomes extremely important and fundamental reconsider the current social – economic system, in order to create a path that can lead to a sustainable society, where people and nature can collaborate to find their own spaces, their own times and to listen to their needs, in an equal and common way. Inside this societal model, what would be the role of work?”

Master dissertation in Human Ecology and Contemporary Social Problems (May 2020)

Podcast: Joanna Pope zu Degrowth & Akzelerationismus

Kann es so etwas geben wie nachhaltiges Wachstum? Oder sollten wir uns nicht vielmehr vom Prinzip des Wachstums an sich trennen und stattdessen andere Vorstellungen des guten Lebens entwickeln?

Degrowth and the emerging mosaic of alternatives

After decades on the defensive, the left has once again started to embrace positive visions of the future.

Emergence of New Economics Energy Transition Models: A Review

Well-known academic and non-academic institutions call for a new approach in economics able to capture features of modern economies including, but not limited to, complexity, non-equilibrium and uncertainty. In this paper, we provide a systematic review of ecological macroeconomic models that are suitable for the investigation of low-carbon energy transitions and assess them based on the features considered desirable for a new approach in economics. We draw two main conclusions: firstly, the knowledge base and structure of these existing ecological macroeconomic models are relevant, alongside other types of models, for the creation of a new approach in economics. Secondly, the reviewed models are policy relevant, especially in the context of the complexity and urgency of rapid energy transitions, where increasingly policymakers require economic models able to capture real-world characteristics. However, further improvements are needed to these models and future research should focus on i) assuring comparability of models’ results and their policy insights, ii) incorporation of the relationships between macroeconomics, finance and sustainability and iii) the institutionalization of a new approach in economics.

Ecological Economics, vol. 177, November 2020

A Green New Deal without growth?

The IPCC warns that in order to keep global warming under 1.5°, global emissions must be cut to zero by 2050. Policymakers and scholars debate how best to decarbonise the energy system, and what socio-economic changes might be necessary. Here we review the strengths, weaknesses, and synergies of two prominent climate change mitigation narratives: the Green New Deal and degrowth. Green New Deal advocates propose a plan to coordinate and finance a large-scale overhaul of the energy system. Some see economic growth as crucial to financing this transition, and claim that the Green New Deal will further stimulate growth. By contrast, proponents of degrowth maintain that growth makes it more difficult to accomplish emissions reductions, and argue for reducing the scale of energy use to enable a rapid energy transition. The two narratives converge on the importance of public investments for financing the energy transition, industrial policies to lead the decarbonisation of the economy, socializing the energy sector to allow longer investment horizons, and expanding the welfare state to increase social protection. We conclude that despite important tensions, there is room for synthesizing Green New Deal and degrowth-minded approaches into a ‘Green New Deal without growth’.

Ecological Economics, vol. 179, 2021

Degrowth Vienna 2020 – An anthropological contribution to degrowth

Presentation [part of the standard session “Communicating Degrowth“]

Social Anthropology has great potential to contribute to degrowth debates and proposals, hardly explored until now. I propose three ways to do so, further exploring one of them, inspired by the question: what can be recovered from the near past, still accessible in the present, for the future? The degrowth project needs new images, ideas, and practices, but it also needs to selectively retrieve those traditional local pre-globalization practices and knowledge aligned with a degrowth society, involving the elders of our society in the creation of pathways for a degrowth transition.

Presenters: Lucía Muñoz Sueiro (The New School, New York)

Language: English with translation to German

Technical details: Standard A2_Lucía Muñoz Sueiro_An anthropological contribution to degrowth.mp4, MPEG-4 video, 55.6MB

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Degrowth Vienna 2020 – Transformations Beyond Growth: A Diverse Practices Approach

Presentation [part of the standard session “Communicating Degrowth“]

This talk stages a conversation between diverse economies and practice theory literatures, outlining the distinct paths these two areas of scholarship have taken to explore current patterns of growth. It argues that their simultaneous consideration would benefit radical and critical scholarship, especially in understanding the complexities of social change.

Presenters: Tom Smith (Masaryk University, Czech Republic)

Language: English with translation to German

Technical details: Standard A2_Tom Smith_Transformations Beyond Growth_ A Diverse Practices Approach.mp4, MPEG-4 video, 96.6MB

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Degrowth Vienna 2020 – Communicating Degrowth

Standard session (discussion following 4 presentations)

  1. The Psychology of Degrowth Adoption: Insights from the Perspectives of the Utopian Impulse and the Regulatory Focus Theory – video
    We investigated how to influence people’s support for degrowth, and whether such influence may be subject to individual differences regarding transformative social change. To do so, we adopted the regulatory focus theory—one of the most widely used theoretical frameworks in social psychology—and used it to frame how degrowth is communicated to people. We also investigated the Utopian Impulse—a core personality trait that determines people’s propensity to pursue transformative social change.
    Presenters: Dario Krpan & Frédéric Basso
  2. Transformations Beyond Growth: A Diverse Practices Approach – video
    This talk stages a conversation between diverse economies and practice theory literatures, outlining the distinct paths these two areas of scholarship have taken to explore current patterns of growth. It argues that their simultaneous consideration would benefit radical and critical scholarship, especially in understanding the complexities of social change.
    Presenters: Tom Smith
  3. An anthropological contribution to degrowth – video
    Social Anthropology has great potential to contribute to degrowth debates and proposals, hardly explored until now. I propose three ways to do so, further exploring one of them, inspired by the question: what can be recovered from the near past, still accessible in the present, for the future? The degrowth project needs new images, ideas, and practices, but it also needs to selectively retrieve those traditional local pre-globalization practices and knowledge aligned with a degrowth society, involving the elders of our society in the creation of pathways for a degrowth transition.
    Presenters: Lucía Muñoz Sueiro
  4. How to communicate & organize the Degrowth movement better – video
    We argue that strategic, motivation-oriented communications and scalable, mission-centric organising are crucial bottlenecks for the degrowth movement’s success. We have three key recommendations for the movement to master the challenges that climate change communication has struggled with.
    Presenters: Justus Baumann & Vegard Beyer

Language: English with translation to German

Technical details: Standard A2_Communicating Degrowth_discussion.mkv, Matroska video, 40.7MB

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Untangling the radical imaginaries of the Indignados’ movement: commons, autonomy and ecologism

Abstract: Under regimes of austerity, social movements´ transformative eco-politics may appear endangered. What kinds of environmentalism and radical imaginaries can unfold in social movements in crisis-ridden societies? I focus on the ‘movement of the squares’ during its post-encampment phase, with a case study of three urban projects of the Indignados movement in Barcelona. Observation of these projects reveals the importance of three common and intertwined radical imaginaries embodied in participants’ social practices and orienting their future visions: the commons, autonomy, and ecologism. The ecologism imaginary cannot be properly understood if disembedded from the other two: the ‘Indignant’ projects constitute community structures re-embedding (re)production, jointly covering and generating needs differently, in response to the global capitalist forces that are threatening their social reproduction. Eco-politics can only be plausibly transformative if it is able to articulate a politics of intersectionality linking social reproduction with ecological interconnectedness and struggles against dispossessions and social injustice.

Environmental Politics, June 2020

Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology

Everywhere anarchism is on the upswing as a political philosophy—everywhere, that is, except the academy. Anarchists repeatedly appeal to anthropologists for ideas about how society might be reorganized on a more egalitarian, less alienating basis. Anthropologists, terrified of being accused of romanticism, respond with silence . . . . But what if they didn’t?

This pamphlet ponders what that response would be, and explores the implications of linking anthropology to anarchism. Here, David Graeber invites readers to imagine this discipline that currently only exists in the realm of possibility: anarchist anthropology.

Degrowth Vienna 2020 – Enacting (de)growth in research practices

Presentation [part of the standard session “Theories of Degrowth Practices“]

In this session we explore how growth logics are embedded in research practices. Then, we critically discuss perspectives from Science and Technology Studies and from the Degrowth community on how to enable the practice and organisation of science that is required for socio-ecological transformations.

Presenters: Ruth Falkenberg (University of Vienna, Department of Science and Technology Studies; Research Platform Responsible Research and Innovation in Academic Practice), David Fox (University of Vienna, Department of Science and Technology Studies)

Language: English

Technical details: Presentation_Ruth_Falkenberg_David_Fox_A6.mp4, MPEG-4 video, 51.0MB

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Degrowth Vienna 2020 – Theories of Degrowth Practices

Standard session (discussion following 2 presentations)

  1. Social Work, Ecoanxiety, and Peer Pressure
    Ecoanxiety is a significant component of the global climate crisis; yet it is mostly absent from collective understanding regarding the Grand Challenge to create social responses to the changing environment. Social work has an opportunity to employ positive peer pressure throughout the discipline to overcome ecoanxiety.
    Presenters: Kelly Smith
  2. Enacting (de)growth in research practices – video
    In this session we explore how growth logics are embedded in research practices. Then, we critically discuss perspectives from Science and Technology Studies and from the Degrowth community on how to enable the practice and organisation of science that is required for socio-ecological transformations.
    Presenters: Ruth Falkenberg, David Fox

Language: English

Technical details: Standard A6_Theories of Degrowth Parctices_Ruth Falkenberg and discussion_trimmed.mkv, MPEG-4 video, 56.8MB

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Degrowth Vienna 2020 – Anarchism and degrowth: two sides of the same coin

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

This paper will demonstrate why, when envisaging degrowth transitions and strategies for achieving them, it is essential to seriously engage with arguments concerning the limitations of the State in enacting radical systemic change, emanating from the long and fruitful history of anarchist thought.

Presenters: Andro Rilović (International Institute of Social Studies)

Language: English with translation to German

Technical details: Standard A4_Andro Rilovic_Anarchism and degrowth_two sides of the same coin.mp4, MPEG-4 video, 32.5MB

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