fedemira / 26 Jan 2023

This webinar series was co-organized by the Dutch branches of Scientists4Future and Scientist Rebellion, as well as the Dutch degrowth network Ontgroei.

Why pursue a degrowth agenda? What does that even mean? And, how to flesh out degrowth through concrete policy and practice. The webinar series goes into all of these questions, providing an intro to degrowth thinking and proposals.

#1 WHY?

Abundance through degrowth, not green growth – with Crelis Rammelt

In this talk, Crelis argues that endless growth is incompatible with a finite planet and that green growth does not resolve this incompatibility. The growth-based system, green or otherwise, becomes exceedingly exploitative in the face of ecological limits. The changes needed therefore include a shrinking of oversized and exploitative economies so as to redistribute resources and therefore create abundance where people have been robbed of it.

#2 WHAT?

Wellbeing through degrowth: Can less really be more? – with Miriam Meissner

Degrowth is sometimes associated with regression and austerity, with ‘consuminderen’ and tightening the belt. Following this logic, degrowth doesn’t bring wellbeing, but constitutes a sacrifice that we (might) make for the environment. This lecture seeks to offer an alternative account by exploring degrowth approaches the subject of societal wellbeing. First, Miriam critically examines how advocates of economic growth envision and propose to generate wellbeing. In a second step, Miriam introduces five alternative proposals that align with degrowth thinking. Less can indeed be more. To generate a societal transition towards less, however, we need to think degrowth beyond ‘consuminderen’ and dare to realize broad scale institutional changes. Whether or not we can make these changes in time will hinge on how effective we are in building a diverse and democratic social movement for degrowth.

#3 HOW?

Exploring degrowth policy proposals – with Nicholas Fitzpatrick

Degrowth speaks to the primary contradictions of our time: ecological overshoot, social shortfall, capital accumulation. But how does it approach policy-making? Nick explores the current state of degrowth policy proposals and how their key features fit the context of public policy design and transition strategies. Check out Nick’s co-authored open access paper on the topic here.

#4 HOW in NL?

A degrowth agenda for the Netherlands – panel debate

This concluding panel discussion sketches the profile and stepstones for a degrowth agenda in the Netherlands. What does degrowth mean for a country with such a large economy and dramatic ecological overshoot? What are the sectors that must degrowth? What added value would a degrowth agenda have for the wellbeing of the people in the Netherlands and beyond? Which political strategies, social movements or coalitions are necessary to reach that agenda?

Panel speakers:

Faiza Oulahsen is department head Climate & Energy at Greenpeace Netherlands. She has broad experience in campaigning and was part of the ‘Arctic 30’ that were jailed in Russia in 2013

Felix van Hoften is economist and lecturer of future economics at Hogeschool Rotterdam. He is author of the book ‘De golven en de Kaap: Op avontuur om de wereld te verbeteren’.

Paul Schenderling is economist and advisor at Berenschot consultants. He is founder of the Postgroei network and main author of the book ‘Er is leven na de groei’.

The panel is moderated by Federico Savini, associate professor in Environmental Planning, Institutions and Politics at UvA.