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Individual Paper: Thinking in systems: backwards to a sustainable future?

Degrowth as a response to Global Challenges

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A high quality of life going together with a low material and energetic metabolism of our economy is the main idea of degrowth. Why would a society aim to degrow, when degrowth is often associated with loss of choice and loss of wellbeing? At Karel-de-Grote University college, Antwerp, Belgium social work students find many arguments for degrowth in a compulsory course on ‘Global Challenges’. During this course students get insight in how the economy is a system in crisis and on how the commodity crisis (like peak oil) and the ecological crisisses (like ocean acidification, pollution and biodiversity loss) form one big system of relations that affect wellbeing now and in the future.
A degrowth transition (contraction) is proposed as a strategic and fundamental answer to each of these global challenges. This special session will draw a picture with empirical trends on the status of the knowledge system, the economic system, the social system, the ecological system and the state of the resources. These global systems effect future (de)growth and impact wellbeing in our society. We proof in this session that the various solutions in each of these systems that have been proposed and implemented fail to deliver a single solution to any of these global challenges. We propose degrowth as the only viable option to respond to global challenges and deliver a solution on the systems level.
Based on these global systems we will discuss priorities for the degrowth movement as a fundamental and genuine answer to these global challenges. Given these global challenges and macro trends as prerequisites, the degrowth movement can derive steps for the next three decades and address upcoming societal developments in a pro-active way for example, by promoting active citizenship, communal well-being and resilience. We will also discuss to what extend our education is ‘future proof’ and oriented towards a degrowth reality and considering the effects of their position on degrowth in society?

More info: Pieter Lievens


Day: 2018-08-24
Start time: 11:15
Duration: 00:15
Room: Nöjesteatern (Conference room)
Track: Climate Change, Climate and Environmental Justice



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