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.
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.
The Degrowth Summer School 2015 took place at the climate camp in the Rhineland. The Rhineland is one of the biggest lignite mining regions, the biggest source of CO2 in Europe. To protest against climate-damaging industry and resource extraction, different movements which have a lot in common and share ambitions get together and work on alternatives and a social transformation. A video by Raute Film.
In the discourse on degrowth – the deliberate and planned downscaling of production and consumption that increases human well-being and enhances ecological conditions and equity on the planet – the notion of »sustainable development« has sort of a bad rap. In fact, sustainable degrowth is intended to replace sustainable development as the central concept under which ecological and social minded activists and researchers might rally. Serge Latouche, the one who first fired the »missile word« of décroissance into the pubic realm, once held a talk titled »Down with sustainable development! Long live convivial degrowth!« at a conference in Paris in 2002. What are the reasons for such disregard of sustainable development? And could this be a somewhat foolish mistake?
While world leaders were still celebrating the Paris climate agreement adopted at the UN climate change conference in Paris as a “major leap for mankind“, critical voices had already denounced the paper as “fraud“, “epic fail” and “trade agreement“. With this, they point to the discrepancy between the agreed commitment to hold the “increase in the global average temperature to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels”, and the agreed real actions to actually achieve this commitment.
The climate crisis is a consequence of our economic system. Economic solutions, like carbon trading were supposed to be a problem solver. Despite such efforts, CO2 levels kept rising. Should we consider changing our economic system instead? And which role do environmental NGOs play in the battle for climate justice?
Joanna Cabello, activist and researcher on environmental justice and part of the Carbon Trade Watch collective, speaks about false solutions and grassroots activism. Joanna´s blog article “Where to begin with climate justice” is available here.