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:
A wild man in the wilderness, nothing special, that’s something we can imagine. But how to live in the wilderness as an urban, civilized person? How to find a balance between harmony with nature and being connected with the society as it is — without fear, cynicism, grief, anger? How to maintain dignity inside being different? How to live with less without renunciation? What do we really need and what are merely bad habits and whims?
[This article was published in Slovenian in September 2013 in “Pomagaj si sam” special edition of Jana magazine…]
When people come to visit me they admire the nature, the modesty, the aesthetics. They are attracted by the fact the wilderness is only partially tamed, not completely subdued. On the other hand they admit it would be hard for them to survive without the commodities of the modern society. Even though they are suffocated by the city they can’t even imagine the simple lifestyle as something plausible.
Then they start asking questions: What about water? Electricity? Job? Where do you get the money? Where is the toilet? What is your occupation? What do you eat? How do you find the time to do everything you do? … How do you actually survive? They use plural in the end realizing there is more of us here.
This is a personal story about a man, who helped himself and sorted out his life in such a way that he radically decreased his dependence on unnecessary necessities of the modern society without stopping his engagement in that same society. Does he have anything valuable to share with his readers? Let’s check it out …
From August 4 to 19, 2012, the emerging eco-community Naravice in Slovenian Istria (close to Koper) will host a two week event to delve into nature, people and relationships, called simply ADVANCE.
Here are a few photos from the last year’s event; and a nice little video from a permaculture workshop this winter (unfortunately only in Slovenian).
The event won’t be a ready-made seminar, workshop or camp, all the participants will co-create it together using methods, techniques and games for enhancing group dynamics—while working, cooking, dancing, playing …
We’ll sleep in tents and hammocks, the meals will be vegetarian.