As we look back on 2020 we see how Covid-19 has made it starkly clear to all of us that globally something is deeply, systemically wrong. As Arundhati Roy stated a portal has opened that demands we change our lives. Those of us cocooned at home working on zoomland, or those of us struggling with economic uncertainty and compromised health, have become even more aware of how important relations with others are, how fragile our environment is, and how well-being in place matters.
This is part two of a piece reflecting on the Vienna degrowth conference and considering how to move forward based on the inputs and insights from the conference. You can read part one (focused on the conference) here. read more
The conference “Degrowth Vienna 2020: Strategies for Socio-ecological transformation” took place online between May and June 2020, in the midst of a pandemic crisis. This two-part piece will firstly reflect upon the conference (part I) and then propose ways to move forward (part II).
COVID-19 has had many effects. Among others, it created a pause, putting non-essential economic activity on halt. A pause that has exposed the numerous weaknesses of growth-centred, globalised economies.
No one really told us what organizing a degrowth conference would entail. We simply knew we wanted to do it. Two years of organizing, meeting, discussing and struggling have passed and now we’re less than seven weeks away from the first day of the conference.
The Support Group of the International Conferences on Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity met in Villarceaux, outside Paris, at the end of January. It was decided that the 7th International Degrowth Conference will take place in Manchester at the beginning of September 2020.
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
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
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
By Christiane Kliemann
At the end of a conference like this, there might be as many impressions and insights to take home as there are participants, and so it is almost impossible to nail this rich variety down to a few one-dimensional bullet-points. What seemed to unite the findings of the various reporters, however, was the perception that the multitude and diversity of the represented approaches and perspectives can be seen as a quality in itself and an essential strength of the degrowth-concept. Translating this strength into action is maybe best expressed by a quote randomly caught up by one of the observers: “You have to change value systems and pratices simoultaneously”.read more
By Christiane Kliemann
When talking about building alliances – the focus of the third conference day – the issue of equality immediately comes into view, as there are many dimensions of inequality deeply rooted in the current growth-based economic model. In order to overcome this model, all these dimensions need to be addressed and all possible change-agents equally taken on board.
Adelheid Biesecker, in her keynote on (re)productivity, shed the light on this topic mostly from a feminist perspective, explaining that productivity and reproductivity are still separated in the current economic system, although already being in a phase of transition (symbolized by the brackets); reproductivity including everything which reproduces the foundations of productivity: paid and unpaid labour, care-work mostly done by women, subsistency and the reproduction processes of natural ecosystems and resources. read more
By Chris Ward
Despite attending the conference, not everyone will fully understand what ‘Degrowth’ is, or the multitude of related terms that will be mentioned during the conference. Thankfully the first session on the schedule, offered by Federico Demaria and Giacomo D´Alisa was ideally suited for getting your knowledge up to scratch. read more