Are Environmentalists No Wiser than Monkeys Reaching for the Moon?

A fairy tale comparing monkeys cooperating to get the moon out of a lake to environmentalists pursuing a consumer economy based on renewable energy – blanketing the Earth with solar panels and wind turbines –
reaching for the mere illusion of sustainability rather than sustainability itself. The monkeys stand for unenlightened people who cannot distinguish between reality and illusion. Reminds me too of Trump supporters still trying to reverse the US election results.

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Fossil Fuel Pollution Kills Eight Million a Year

On Feb. 9, the journal Environmental Research published a study conducted by three British universities and Harvard, titled “Global mortality from outdoor fine particle pollution generated by fossil fuel combustion: Result from GEOS-Chem.” While it seems like just another research article, its findings call into question the whole economic and political foundations of modern civilization.

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Degrowth Conferences in 2020 & 2021 – helpful info and links from

The rhythm of the international degrowth gatherings and discussions in 2020 and 2021 adapted and adapts to present circumstances.
The <> web site has provided some useful links here to past and upcoming gatherings and discussions.

In 2021, compatibly with the constantly changing travel regulations, they encourage you to consider either physical or remote participation in:

– a Joint International Conference with Ecological Economics, originally announced as the 7th Degrowth / 16th ISEE International Society for Ecological Economics Conference, with a clear thematic focus on ecological economics (Manchester, July 2021); and

– the 8th International Conference on Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity, hosted by a range of diverse degrowth actors from the Netherlands, with a broad thematic focus aiming to expand the frontiers of degrowth research and activism (The Hague, 24-28 August 2021). See here.

After the first edition in Christiania, Copenhagen, in 2018 prior to the Malmö 6th conference, we will support the organisation of the second Pre-conference International Meeting of the Degrowth Movement in The Hague immediately before the 8th International Degrowth Conference.

In 2020, three degrowth-related events were held online:

– The International Conference “Degrowth Vienna 2020 – Strategies for Social-Ecological Transformation” (May 29 – June 1; See here). You can watch all the sessions in our library, by searching “Degrowth Vienna 2020”.
Speakers included Susan Paulson, Juliet Schor and Miriam Lang. A hundred academic, activist, and artistic sessions and workshops were held.

– The Degrowth Summer Schools in the UK and Barcelona were postponed, and instead were organized as the Degrowth talks (29 April – 27 May). Watch the UK materials here.

– A symposium specifically focused on the implications of Covid19 for ecological economics and degrowth, was held at the time of the formerly announced 7th conference in Manchester (September 2020; See here).

The Support Group understands that, in changing global scenarios, our conferences might change from what we have been used to so far. Your proposals and suggestions are welcome.

We won’t get back to normal because normal was the problem. Keep up the fight!

The Support Group of the International Conferences on Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability & Social Equity



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Wisdom from the oil fields?

It isn’t often I find somewhat enlightening articles in the NYT, but this one struck me as worth the “long” read (3000 words). Smith’s outline of the history and dangers of our fossil fuel dependency is useful, but so is his inclusion of an all too brief glance at a necessary transition, not only to alternative energy technologies but also to simpler, convivial local economies and cooperative lifestyles. He’s hardly in my slowcialist world, but for me he has captured some of the elements of Ulrich Ducrow’s 1995 “Alternatives to Global Capitalism” and our urgent need to find some dynamic global combination of alternative communities of living examples (of which there are already tens of thousands) and working within and against the “system”, not just to reform it but completely re-design and re-set it – a huge challenge, as most of us know.



The First Step Is Admitting You Have a Problem
What my time working on a North Dakota oil patch taught me about America’s fossil fuel addiction — and how to curb it.

Credit…Artwork by Scott Gelber

By Michael Patrick F. Smith, NYT Feb. 5, 2021

Mr. Smith is a folk singer and playwright based in Kentucky. He is the author of the forthcoming “The Good Hand: A Memoir of Work, Brotherhood, and Transformation in an American Boomtown,” a book about his time working on the oil fields of North Dakota.

Look around you: chances are that every object within your field of vision contains refined petroleum.

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Investigative documentary sheds a light on the World Bank’s role in helping ExxonMobil exploit one of the biggest fossil fuel discoveries of our time.

Berlin, Washington D.C. | October 16th 2020

As the World Bank conducts its Annual Meeting, an investigative documentary sheds a light on the Bank’s role in helping ExxonMobil exploit one of the biggest fossil fuel discoveries of our time.

content note: Alison Redford, the disgraced Premier of the
Canadian oil sands province of Alberta, was paid in August
2020 by the Canadian High Commission in Georgetown Guyana to
provide advice to the Government of Guyana concerning the
proposal by Exxon-Mobil. Exxon-Mobil owns 60.9% of Imperial
Oil of Canada, which has contributed regularly to the
Progressive Conservative party of Alberta for which Alison
Redford was a Member of the Legislative Assembly.  There
would appear to be a conflict of interest in the hiring,
with Canadian taxpayers’ funds, of a politician who has
benefited from political party donations from the company
she was hired to evaluate. ]

120 miles off the coast of Guyana lies one of the largest crude discoveries in recent history: 13.6 billion barrels of oil and 32 trillion cubic feet of natural gas are the current estimate for known reserves in the entire offshore basin. ExxonMobil is the leading fossil fuel company in this massive drilling program, which has benefited from Guyana receiving considerable budget support and technical assistance from the World Bank. Together, BigOil and the World Bank Group risk turning Guyana into the world’s latest victim of the oil curse, further fuelling the global climate crisis.

After months of research, interviews with experts and a fact finding mission completed just before the global pandemic, the documentary “Carbon Bomb” now premieres on YouTube. The film sheds a light on how public finance can be used to help ailing oil giants exploit a country’s resources under the guise of public assistance.

Watch the full documentary here:

For questions about the film or introductions to any of the protagonists and experts, please contact the Film’s Director:
Shane Thomas McMillan, Independent Filmmaker
shanethomasmcmillan –

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Guardian: Could covid degrowth have helped save the planet?

Slowdown of human activity was too short to reverse years of destruction, but we saw a glimpse of post-fossil fuel world.

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The Transition to a Post-Capitalist World

Bob Thomson, April 10, 2017

An exciting new paradigm of transition to a post-capitalist world is unfolding in the forms of platform cooperativism, open source peer to peer manufacturing, agricultural and production technologies and convivial degrowth. It proposes a reduction of our societal and industrial metabolism to a level that is sustainable on our limited planet, based on the commons, i.e. resources and governance more in the hands of community and social movements than of individuals or corporations or authoritarian and/or sectarian political elites. I present here an overview of why we need this transition,  some elements of what it might look like and an introduction to the largely European peer to peer and convivial degrowth movements.

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Are humans in a swarm stage of development?

We’re in an outbreak currently. But we don’t mean the COVID pandemic. It turns out that outbreak has a second definition: it means when populations grow dramatically large, beyond their carrying capacities. As David Quammen details in his book Spillover, disease outbreaks can be considered “as a subset” in this broader category.

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Reuters NEXT: Capitalism plans a post Covid future

Sorry to bother those of you who may have received several notices of this post to the web site. I have tried to just send a link to the Reuters web page, but for some reason the link will not appear. Originally the link that I received as a subscriber to their site included code that opened a form which contained my personal information already filled out. I didn’t want to spread that all over the internet and have tried to post just a link to their own site. However WordPress will not post the link. I tried to enter simple text without the http header but WordPress censored that as well. I also tried sending completely separate words instead of the internet address but WordPress has censored that as well. Here is another attempt.

Outline of an online conference planned for January 11-14

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Discrimination and Bias in Economics, and Emerging Responses

I thought followers of this site would find this post interesting.

Opening the Miami Institute’s economics forum, Jayati Ghosh presents severe and persistent forms of discrimination and power imbalances in economic analyses, and underscores older and newer networks of scholars pushing back against these tendencies. She notes:

In development economics there is an even worse tendency, of treating those in the South as the objects of study and policy action (with its economists often becoming glorified research assistants in international research projects), while “real” knowledge is supposedly created in the North and disseminated outwards…. The recent craze in development economics personified by the “randomistas” exemplifies this. There has been much outcry and disgust about some Randomised Control Trials being conducted (inevitably) on poor people in the developing world, for example those that have involved cutting off water supply to see if that incentivises bill payments, or checking whether poor parents will send only their better performing children to school once they are informed about their results… The rot goes beyond those conducting such studies, to the research funders, the international organisations, the editors of journals and the university teachers who put such studies into their course material, when they would never consent to similar studies of their own behaviour.

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