Degrowth is a “bomb word” used to inspire in-depth debates on whether infinite growth in a finite world is desirable or even possible. A vibrant and dynamic network developed around this term, bringing together academics, activists, environmentalists and social (r)evolutionaries, as well as global movements and organisations they belong to.
Degrowth conference in Budapest was the 5th such biannual conference since the first one organised in Paris in 2008. The goal of the conferences is to question unlimited growth, in understanding the challenges faced by society and to implement dialogues about solutions on different levels.
Around hundred degrowth-related events (panels, participatory discussions, practical workshops, exhibitions, artistic performances, concerts and parties) demonstrated the latest research and promoted cooperation in the development of scientific and political proposals, facilitation of networking and the flow of ideas between various actors working on degrowth, especially in academia.
In the last 15 years Degrowth and GEN have occasionally come in touch and cooperated. During the 4th International Degrowth Conference in Leipzig 2014 GEN was already represented with two representational stands, including a cozily furnished outdoor pavilion with a huge flatscreen TV showing pictures from the ecovillage life and the freshly made GEN presentation movie. This year some volunteers organised again a stand presenting the newest GEN publications including the GEN playing cards and prepared a particular interactive and well visited workshop.
It was clear that GEN fits into the conference when right at the outset the very first panellist went into etymology of the word ‘community’. Then Degrowth was presented as a young, rapidly growing community; the entire second panel was dedicated to the word semi-periphery – the political sphere between core and periphery. This was just an introduction to an array of complex sociopolitical jargon which permeated the majority of panels and talks, such as: