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 email@example.com.
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.”
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. .
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
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.
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?
By Kiran Pereira
If you want to know the ‘most consumed raw material on earth’ look no further! Sand and gravel have overtaken even water on this front. Yet, not many people would think about sand unless they wanted to go on holiday to a beach! This resource exerts a hegemony that is unrivalled. From the mundane to the mystical, the uses of sand are far too numerous to list exhaustively here. Sand and its derivatives are not only used in things that we see and know such as glassware in our homes, window panes, and of course in the concrete in buildings and infrastructure, but also in things such as toothpastes, sunscreens, wines, paints, aircraft alloys, and even in electronic chips in our debit/credit cards, mobile phones, computers and other gadgets that power our hyper-connected societies.
By Sam Bliss
Growth means a process of increasing in physical size. When we think of economic growth, it is difficult to fathom what exactly grows, since ‘the economy’ is an invented concept that describes billions of human interactions as if they were one giant entity.
But gross domestic product is a rate — the total money value of economic activity per year — and thus growth really means acceleration. Degrowth, according to this understanding, is slowing down.
André Reichel’s very thoughtful piece ‘Retaking sustainable development for degrowth’ raises several very important issues. We start by acknowledging that we and Reichel are clearly on the same page in criticizing current models of ‘growth’ including in its ‘green’ and ‘eco-modernist’ forms. We concur also on the need for the world to move towards sustainability, justice, equity, and human well-being in tune with the planet. In this sense we have a common cause, and our response to his article below is an attempt to show how, despite this commonality of goals, our pathways may be different.