The EU needs a stability and wellbeing pact, not more growth | Politics | The Guardian

238 academics call on the European Union and its member states to plan for a post-growth future in which human and ecological wellbeing is prioritised over GDP. This week, scientists, politicians, and policymakers are gathering in Brussels for a landmark conference. The aim of this event, organised by members of the European parliament from five different political groups, alongside trade unions and NGOs, is to explore possibilities for a “post-growth economy” in Europe.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/sep/16/the-eu-needs-a-stability-and-wellbeing-pact-not-more-growth

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Forget ‘survival of the fittest’ – degrowth of energy consumption will save the earth – Guardian

Proof that degrowth of energy consumption is a scientific survival strategy.

It is the perfect comeback for those who are admonished for not pulling their weight. Never mind that work is piling up, being lazy is a winning evolutionary strategy that postpones the extinction of the species. That, at least, is one interpretation. Researchers who studied nearly 300 forms of mollusc that lived and died in the Atlantic over the past five million years found that a high metabolism predicted which species had gone the way of the dodo.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/aug/22/forget-survival-of-the-fittest-the-laziest-will-inherit-the-earth

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We won’t save the Earth with a better kind of disposable coffee cup | George Monbiot | Opinion | The Guardian

Do you believe in miracles? If so, please form an orderly queue. Plenty of people imagine we can carry on as we are, as long as we substitute one material for another. Last month, a request to Starbucks and Costa to replace their plastic coffee cups with cups made from corn starch was retweeted 60,000 times, before it was deleted.

Those who supported this call failed to ask themselves where the corn starch would come from, how much land would be needed to grow it, or how much food production it would displace. They overlooked the damage this cultivation would inflict: growing corn (maize) is notorious for causing soil erosion, and often requires heavy doses of pesticides and fertilisers.

The problem is not just plastic: it is mass disposability.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/06/save-earth-disposable-coffee-cup-green?CMP=share_btn_fb

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Reflections on a decade of degrowth International conferences

Following the sixth International Conference on Degrowth in Sweden – and ahead of two complimentary events in Mexico and Brussels this September – members of the DEGROWTH CONFERENCE SUPPORT GROUP reflect on the history of these events

https://theecologist.org/2018/aug/29/reflections-decade-degrowth-international-conferences

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Nicolas Hulot’s resignation – is the path of negotiation and reform a dead end?

Resignation of Nicolas Hulot: proof that the path of negotiation and reform is a dead end
An opinion piece published Sept. 7 in Le Monde signed by a host of well known environmentalists.
From Philippe Gautier in the Facebook group Decroissance Conviviale
(Facebook translation – partially edited by BT)

Also see the Guardian article re Hulot’s resignation.
Macron has lost a minister. Has he lost credibility on the environment too? | Pauline Bock | Opinion | The Guardian
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/aug/29/macron-minister-environmental-credibility-nicolas-hulot-shock-resignation

There is also an article in yesterday’s Liberation signed by 700 French scientists urging French action.
Faced with urgency, highlighted this summer by a succession of ecological disasters, 700 French scientists are mobilizing in “Liberation”, urging the French rulers to move from incantation to action to finally move towards a carbon-free society.

Le Monde Sept. 7, 2018
The renunciation of the minister of ecology must cause a shock in conscience if we want to avoid the likely collapse of our societies, writes a collective in an opinion piece in Le Monde.

By Sarah Kilani (hospital doctor), Nicolas Gonzales (Professor of economic and social sciences) and Pablo Servigne (Agronomist and researcher in-earth-dependent).

Too busy to mock Nicolas Hulot and to psychiatrize his case, the editors of the continuous news channels, those who nowadays make opinion, pass by the essential: they do not seem even to see the extreme gravity of the situation. The resignation of Nicolas Hulot is the manifestation of a very serious finding of impotence by a minister of state, who came to negotiate and reform, not to upend the table.

In the face of the first dramatic effects of climate change, the uncontrollable runaway, which announces and has already begun, the collapse of biodiversity and human responsibility for all these processes, the survival of our species by the end of the century, and our short-term living conditions, depends on our ability to refuse indifference, cynicism, fate, to finally think and act for the transition to a resilient world. This resignation must urgently bring everyone to their certainties, rather than accept the parade of mockery, resentment, politicking and shrugging of shoulders.

A man and even a government cannot transform such powerful structures, supported by different human interests, very organized and omnipresent in the spheres of power. With the resignation of Hulot, the path to negotiation and reform is proven to be at a dead end. Those who are truly aware that the ecological situation is absolutely catastrophic now have come to think that on this side we have tried everything.

Serious situation

If people do not take the serious measure of the situation in the weeks and months to come (we are there now) and do not immediately become a determined and active collective force to overthrow the influence of lobbies and those that they represent, we have no chance of escaping all the cascade effects of climate change, which is incompatible with our life on this planet.

But noting that even the least of individual citizen acts are not adopted by the majority of households (heat less, local consumption, carpool, composting food waste, drastically reducing its consumption of meat and milk products, recover the rainwaters, engage in zero waste…) to think that citizens can be quickly determined to mobilize massively and collectively to quickly reduce greenhouse gas emissions seems to be a chimera.

Every week that passes without action makes it less and less feasible to reform our substantive institutions in order to take account of the medium and long term. And the situation is clearly escaping. The collapse of our societies is becoming increasingly likely. We have to tell ourselves: collapse rhymes with hunger, thirst, drought, war and disease, and this will most likely become our lives if we do not take drastic decisions very quickly.

If people want to manage the energy and material descent that comes from avoiding chaos, they must now be the first and most powerful lobby in the country to save what remains to save and maintain a minimum base of good – they must also adopt strategies to block everything that kills life and destroys the living conditions of humans as well as non-humans; they must at the same time take without waiting for the cross roads and open the path to the world of tomorrow, in their commune, their department, their region – and this without counting on a political world intrinsically unfit to make the necessary changes.

So “radical” that this may appear to some, every individual, every collective and every organization wishing to anticipate the future with responsibility should now resign from the dominant economic system that is a tyranny of nature and oppression of the majority in the Interest of a minority, a deadly and deadly merchant system that ravages the biosphere whose lives and those of our children depend, and should be organized with determination to become architects of new resilient societies, only to ensure our survival.

Since the powers in place remain desperately deaf and blind to the fact that we teach the specialists in the life sciences, and since they refuse to undertake the immense work necessary, preferring to preserve an economic system with a breath of breath, The time has come for citizens to come out of denial and become masters of their destiny.

Not only can they and they must become the most powerful lobby, but it is also up to them to build alternative lifestyles based on the concept of resilience. The old world rushes into the abyss with pride, cynicism, denial and unconsciousness; do
not follow it, let us invent the societies that we want to see and give meaning to our lives. Here. Now.

The following people read this text and support it: Geneviève Azam (Economist and member of ATTAC), Gilles Bœuf (Biologist, professor of universities), Alexandre Boisson (Creator of SosMaires.org and cuta-impact. (Fr), Christophe Bonneuil
(historian), Yves Cochet (President of the momentum institute and former minister of the environment), Olivier De Schutter (Professor at the Catholic University of louvain and former United nations special rapporteur on the right to food) , Txetx
Etcheverry (Co-Organiser of Alternativa Bayonne), Philippe Gauthier (scientific communicator and independent researcher on energy issues), Stephanie Gibaud (Speaker, author and alert pitcher), Christian Godin (philosopher), Clive Hamilton (Professor of ethics at Charles Sturt University, Australia), Rob Hopkins (Co-founder of transition network), Arthur Keller (specialist in industrial societies and resilience strategies), Freddy Le Saux (President of links), Bill McKibben (American journalist specializing in the environment), Vincent Mignerot (Writer, independent researcher and founder of Adrastia), Guillaume Meurice (comedian and radio columnist), Alexandre Monin (scientific director of Origens Medialab), Corinne Morel
Darleux (Regional Councillor LPG de la Drôme), Clément Montfort (journalist and director), Véronique Naoum Cluster (Anthropologist), Emmanuel Prados (researcher INRIA), Maxime De Rostollan (founder of future farms and blue bees), Sandrine Roudaut (author, editor), Raphael Stevens (expert on ecological systems resilience) and Laurent Testot (journalist and essayist).

https://mobile.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2018/09/07/demission-de-nicolas-hulot-preuve-est-faite-que-la-voie-de-la-negociation-et-de-la-reforme-est-une-impasse_5351827_3232.html

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Degrowth Considered: a vision of an ecological society

A book review of “In Defence of Degrowth”

Since the chimera of sustainable development is an alibi for permanent growth, degrowth is meant to grab hold of the dominant discourse of growth, envelop it and its apologists, and in fact take on fundamentalism where one must: at the roots. The idea of degrowth, this book included, is meant as invitation to debate. Degrowth is not meant to replace communism, anarchism, or democratic socialism as horizons for human hope, and it is certainly not a recipe for disregarding class struggle.

I hope I have presented Kallis’s ideas fairly. I strongly agree with the socio-ecological orientation he sketches. So, I would raise the first of my objections this way: There is an unnecessary spartanness in how he (and perhaps the degrowthers more broadly?) imagines the degrowth transition and horizon. In a rationally and collectively planned economy, people must attend to the effects of production and consumption on the biosphere.

https://climateandcapitalism.com/2018/09/06/degrowth-a-limited-vision-of-ecological-society

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An Overview of Degrowth Research

This excellent overview of degrowth research will be published in the Annual Review of Environment and Resources, Volume 43, October 2018 (22 May 2018)

Authors: Giorgos Kallis, 1,2; Vasilis Kostakis, 3,4; Steffen Lange, 5; Barbara Muraca, 6; Susan Paulson, 7; and Matthias Schmelzer 8

1. ICTA, Autonomous University of Barcelona, 08193 Barcelona, Spain; email: giorgoskallis@gmail.com
2. ICREA, 08010 Barcelona, Spain
3. Ragnar Nurkse School of Innovation & Governance, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia kostakis.b@gmail.com
4. Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA
5. Institute for Ecological Economy Research, 10785 Berlin, Germany; email: steffen.lange@ioew.de
6. College of Liberal Arts, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331, USA; email: barbara.muraca@oregonstate.edu
7. Center for Latin American Studies, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA; email: spaulson@latam.ufl.edu
8. DFG Research Group, University of Jena, Zurich CH-8001, Switzerland; email: matthias.schmelzer@uhz.de

Abstract

Scholars and activists increasingly use the term degrowth when producing knowledge critical of the ideology and costs of growth-based development. Degrowth signals a radical political and economic reorganization leading to reduced resource and energy use. The degrowth hypothesis posits that such a trajectory of social transformation is necessary, desirable, and possible; the conditions of its realization require additional study. Research on degrowth has reinvigorated the limits to growth debate with critical examination of the historical, cultural, social, and political forces that have made economic growth a dominant objective. Here we review studies of economic stability in the absence of growth and of societies that have managed well without growth. We reflect on forms of technology and democracy compatible with degrowth and discuss plausible openings for a degrowth transition. This dynamic and productive research agenda asks inconvenient questions that sustainability sciences can no longer afford to ignore.

CONTENTS

1. INTRODUCTION . . . . . .. . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4.2
2. HISTORY: ORIGINS OF THE GROWTH PARADIGM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.4
3. ECOLOGICAL ECONOMICS: THE LIMITS OF GREEN GROWTH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.6
4. MANAGING WITHOUT GROWTH: THE ECONOMICS OF DEGROWTH . . . . .  . . . . . 4.8
5. ANTHROPOLOGY & SOCIAL SCIENCES: STUDIES OF SOCIETIES LIVING WITHOUT GROWTH . . . . . . 4.11
6. TECHNOLOGY STUDIES AND DEGROWTH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.13
7. POLITICAL SCIENCE: DEMOCRACY AND DEGROWTH . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . 4.16
8. CONCLUSION: A DEGROWTH TRANSITION? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.18

https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-environ-102017-025941

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