Degrowth is an idea that critiques the global capitalist system which pursues growth at all costs, causing human exploitation and environmental destruction. Degrowth means transforming societies to ensure environmental justice and a good life for all within planetary boundaries.
Degrowth is an idea that critiques the global capitalist system which pursues growth at all costs, causing human exploitation and environmental destruction. The degrowth movement of activists and researchers advocates for societies that prioritize social and ecological well-being instead of corporate profits, over-production and excess consumption. This requires radical redistribution, reduction in the material size of the global economy, and a shift in common values towards care, solidarity and autonomy. Degrowth means transforming societies to ensure environmental justice and a good life for all within planetary boundaries.
Earth has pushed past seven out of eight scientifically established safety limits and into “the danger zone,” not just for an overheating planet that’s losing its natural areas, but for the well-being of people living on it, according to a new study.
The study by the international scientist group Earth Commission published in Wednesday’s journal Nature looks at climate, air pollution, phosphorus and nitrogen contamination of water from fertilizer overuse, groundwater supplies, fresh surface water, the unbuilt natural environment and the overall natural and human-built environment.
Only air pollution wasn’t quite at the danger point globally.
Air pollution is dangerous at local and regional levels, while climate was beyond the harmful levels for humans in groups but not quite past the safety guideline for the planet as a system, the study from the Swedish group said.
The study found “hotspots” of problem areas throughout Eastern Europe, South Asia, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, parts of Africa and much of Brazil, Mexico, China and some of the U.S. West — much of it from climate change.
About two-thirds of Earth don’t meet the criteria for freshwater safety, scientists said as an example.
It’s not a terminal diagnosis. The planet can recover if it changes, including its use of coal, oil and natural gas and the way it treats the land and water, the scientists said.
Rockstrom and other scientists have attempted in the past this type of holistic measuring of Earth’s various interlocking ecosystems.
The big difference in this attempt is that scientists also looked at local and regional levels and they added the element of justice.
The report uses the same boundary of 1.5 degree Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming since pre-industrial times that international leaders agreed upon in the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
The world has so far warmed about 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit), so it hasn’t crossed that safety fence, Rockstrom and Gupta said, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t being hurt.
“What we are trying to show through our paper is that event at 1 degree Centigrade (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) there is a huge amount of damage taking place,” Gupta said, pointing to tens of millions of people exposed to extreme hot temperatures.
The planetary safety guardrail of 1.5 degrees hasn’t been breached, but the “just” boundary where people are hurt of 1 degree has been.
Hello. New here, just read the summary and I have a few comments.
"Degrowth" literally does not mean " transforming societies to ensure environmental justice and a good life for all within planetary boundaries. " It means reconfiguring our economic/monetary/political system in such a way as to ensure that the human operation on this planet can get smaller without the civilisation that implements it collapsing as a result. "Environmental justice" is something else -- it is about trying to make society fairer -- something which the political left has been trying to achieve for its entire history, regardless of anything to do with ecology.
Trying to define degrowth in terms of social or environmental justice is deeply counter-productive. It dooms the project to failure even before it starts, because it fails to recognise the difference between ecological sustainability, which is a function of the relationship between humanity and the rest of the ecosystem, and social justice, which is purely to do with the internal structure of human societies. What I am saying is that it is impossible to even understand the issues properly -- it is impossible to think and speak clearly and rationally -- unless you are willing to admit that these two things are fundamentally different. We need to conceptually distinguish between ecology, which is a hard science, and politics and economics, which aren't sciences at all. Ecological questions have scientific answers which are available before any politics, economics or ethics begins. If you try to ram politics and economics into the ecology before you get the ecological answers then the result will be useless nonsense. We need to separate the questions about how we measure economic degrowth -- how we establish what economic or monetary policies will create/allow degrowth and which won't -- from the questions about how this will be paid for or how the pain should be distributed. Clearly the issues are linked, but that doesn't mean they should be deliberately blurred and confused with each other by providing what are effectively loaded definitions. Defining words to mean what they manifestly do not mean does not help anybody. It does not advance the cause of social justice. You can't change the world by playing games with words. It is entirely possible for there to be degrowth without any "environmental justice" at all, although it is hard to image how there can ever be a just society until there's degrowth. Whether or not an economic system can deliver degrowth is a very different question to whether or not it is fair. "Degrowth" ought to be fairly easy to define, without any politics. "Fair" is pure politics.
What this ultimately boils down to is that degrowth is coming whether society likes it or not. And it doesn't like it, which means it will be largely involuntary, which in turn means that justice is frequently going to be impossible to deliver. If advocates of degrowth refuse to admit this reality then they are no better than the advocates of growth who refuse to admit ecological reality. Reality doesn't care about what humans think or how we define words. Words are for humans to understand each other.
It’s a book from the Club of Rome about the origins of the Limits to Growth book 50 years on and where we go from here, from what I can make out. It looks interesting, but has anyone read it?
I'm pretty new to exploring the ideas of degrowth, but a lot of it resonates with me so far. I was poking around the Degrowth.info site and came across this virtual assembly for folks in the United States on May 24th. Seems like it could be worth checking out? Here's the link if anyone wants to register: https://www.degrowus.org/virtual-assembly-2023
I'm not an organizer or anything of this event, just curious to see what it's about and thought I'd pass it along here too.
Hello, I am a student in my final year of high school and I am interested, in the context of an oral presentation, in the profile of individuals who campaign for degrowth.
This short survey will only take up 2 or 3 minutes of your time and will help me enormously. Thank you for your time.
I’m a degrowth researcher studying the relationship between ecology and capitalism, and I just made a video on degrowth, based on Jason Hickel’s book Less is More. Hope you’d enjoy this video and let me know what you think about it :)