Blog

Welcome to our blog which aims to shed light on different aspects of the degrowth discourses and movement. In our older articles, there are also impressions and news from events such as the 2015 summer school on climate justice and the 2014 Degrowth conference. If you would like to comment on or contribute to the blog, please contact us at blog@degrowth.de.

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It´s now the second time that the Degrowth Summer School will take place at the Climate Camp in the Rhineland. While last year´s event was under the banner of climate justice, this year it is called „skills for system change“. We´ve asked Christopher Laumanns from the organizing team about the reasoning behind it and what to expect at the camp.

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Hegemony of Growth

By Matthias Schmelzer

Degrowth aims at undoing growth. Undoing growth both at the level of social structures and social imaginaries. Although the focus is very often on the latter, i.e. the “decolonization of imaginaries” as put by Serge Latouche, the degrowth perspective still seems to lack a comprehensive understanding of the role of ideology, the path dependencies and the power that shape these imaginations. Degrowth and related transition ideas sometimes appear as a rather naïvely idealistic perspectives, in which “we” simply have to understand, reflect and overcome our “mental infrastructures” and our personal addictions to consumerism and material expansion.

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Deutschland, Sachsen, Leipzig, Empfangsveranstaltung im Auditorium der Uni Leipzig waehrend der Degrowth Konferenz 2014 © Thomas Victor

The Call for the 6th International Degrowth Conference is now open.

The international conferences on degrowth are central landmarks and moments of convergence of the international degrowth intellectual and social movements. They offer an unique opportunity for bringing together scholars with other members of civil society and demonstrating a different way of organizing conferences. A central feature of the conferences has been direct participation and collaboration among participants.

Research & Degrowth (R&D) together with the Support Group (SG) offers to facilitate and sustain the organization of the Sixth International Conference (foreseen for 2018).

Please find more information on website of Research & Degrowth (R&D)

No to Austerity

How the conflation with neoliberalism and austerity unfairly reduces the idea of degrowth to absurdity – and where the degrowth movement can turn for answers to the crisis.

By Lasse Thiele

The degrowth movement has been developed in response to neoliberal reality, neoliberalism’s comically reductive view of human nature, its ecological blindness and the rise in social inequality it has brought about. Austerity politics embodies one of the most aggressive manifestations of neoliberalism, but curiously, the degrowth movement has been exposed to criticism from the (both liberal and Marxist) Left associating it with such politics. This prompted many degrowth activists to insist that “your austerity is not our degrowth.

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System Change not Climate Change

The 2nd Degrowth Summerschool will take place on the Climate Camp in the Rhineland from the 19th to the 23rd of August 2016. “Skills for System Change“ will be the motto of a diverse programme dealing with alternatives to the current economic system. Right after the Summer School has ended, the Action Lab will take place from the 24th to the 29th of August. Melanie and Milan, who are involved in the preparation of the Action Lab, explain what it is all about and how one can take part.

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Budapest Kachel

From 30 August to 3 September Budapest will be under the banner of degrowth with two major degrowth-events: The degrowth week and conference. In order to give you some ideas on what to expect there, we´ve asked a few questions to the Degrowth 2016 organizing team:

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SAGE Book front cover

By Kanchi Kohli and Manju Menon

Is the world going through an environmental crisis? If yes, who has caused it and where does the onus to remedy it lie? If one is to go by the policy debates and outcomes worldwide, the existence of a crisis seems established, the attribution contested, and the road map for remedies under perpetual review. Each year several international conventions revisit their priorities and national governments review their responses to problems of deforestation, biodiversity loss, climate change, water availability and pollution.

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Urban Gardening

On the Need for Collaboration Between Social Movements and Activisms

By Lucie Bardos

Not that long ago, I left North America and arrived fresh and starry-eyed in Lund, Sweden, ready to begin my master’s degree in a program entitled Culture, Power and Sustainability. In my second year, I decided to write my thesis about the Transition Town movement, a social movement out of Great Britain born of the need to act as communities (rather than individuals) in the face of peak oil and climate change. It focuses on helping communities transition towards becoming socially and ecologically sustainable post-carbon societies.

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UBI India

By Brototi Roy

In recent years, the debate around universal basic income has gained much popularity and coverage. The many successful models of basic income, both universal and targeted such as Alaska, Iran and Brazil (Bolsa ) along with an active movement in many European countries to adopt pilot experiments, made researchers and social workers in India enthusiastic to try out similar studies in the country to evaluate the viability of such an unconditional cash transfer to ensure social security to its vulnerable citizens.

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Megamaschine

Why a social-ecological transformation is impossible without changing the deep structures of our economy

By Fabian Scheidler

Opening a newspaper or listening to the radio news exposes us to a flood of catastrophic messages: devastating droughts, failing states, terrorist attacks, and financial crashes. You can look at all those incidents as unconnected singular phenomena, which is exactly what the common presentation of news suggests. From another angle, however, they appear as symptoms of a systemic crisis, with different branches that have common roots.

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RepRap

By Andreas Roos

 “The great economic revolutions in history occur when new communication revolutions merge with new energy regimes”. This is the beginning of an article by Jeremy Rifkin in the Guardian back in 2011, echoing the promise he laid out in his then newly written book The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and World. The book claims, in short, that the world is entering the third and final stage of the industrial enterprise, a stage in which renewable energy is merging with information and communication technologies, and leading humanity into an era of wealth and harmony.

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Wind energy

By Mark Burton

It can be difficult to form a view of what’s really going on in our atmosphere, given the amount of information and of contradictory claims. This piece concerns recent reports on global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and levels. On 16th March, a Guardian headline over an article by John Vidal said: Surge in renewable energy stalls world greenhouse gas emissions

That sounds good, doesn’t it. But at best, the claim is only partly true. The article is actually about energy-related emissions. .

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Building Walls

As much as building walls cannot be the answer to the horrible situation of refugees seeking asylum in Europe, it cannot be the means of choice for protecting national economies either. In the face of  a resurgence of sovereigntist and nationalist rhetoric from both the Right and the Left, the French Degrowth Project makes the case for open relocalization as a basis for a new international:

By Vincent Liegey, Stéphane Madelaine, Christophe Ondet and Anisabel Veillot

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thanks degrowth 2014 sonia goicoechea (2)

By Dennis Eversberg and Matthias Schmelzer

Although growth-critique is currently in vogue and degrowth is mentioned favorably even by the pope in his most recent encyclical, there is as yet almost no scientific research on degrowth as a social movement.

We can now present the first empirical findings on the character of this movement, based on a survey we did at the 2014 Degrowth-Conference in Leipzig, in which 814 conference participants took part, and a cluster analysis of their responses.

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Emissions

By Camila Moreno, Lili Fuhr and Daniel Speich Chassé

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?

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