Degrowth Summer School – Klimacamp

Degrowth Summer School

Date: 23.05, 24.05., 26.05., 27.05.,
Time: 10:00 – 13:00
Organisation: Degrowth Vienna

Facilitators: Lisette von Maltzahn & Saskia Brikkenaar van Dijk
Language: English
Place: Anfanggasse 1220, Wien
Min – Max participants: 10-25
Deadline for enrolment: May, 9th

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A good life for all within planetary boundaries – this is the quest of Degrowth.
That‘s right, Degrowth is not about recession, grinding all the factories in the world to a halt and returning to the Stone Age. Departing from the realization that the growth imperative of capitalist societies is the main driver of historical and current global injustice, Degrowth instead asks: if we could stop worrying about growing the economy, what other things can we start growing? Do we want more SUVs, private jets and fast fashion, or would we like to start looking into things like universal basic services, reclaiming the commons, putting care at the center of economic activity and a slower pace of life? Degrowth is a blooming ensemble of research, discourse and concrete utopias, at the heart of which is the journey to an ecologically sustainable and socially just society. Join us in exploring the pathways to a post-capitalist world!
In this summer school, we gradually build our understanding of degrowth over 4 days time.

23.05. – Day 1 – The problem with growth (10:00-13:00)
We commit the first workshop day to the elephant in the room: growth. How come our economies must either constantly grow or be in ‘recession’? We take a critical look at what economic growth and the primacy of GDP has brought to human lives and the natural world. A few paradoxes come to the surface: living standards are ever increasing, yet anxiety, depression and welfare diseases are on the rise. Our technologies are more efficient than ever, yet we also extract more resources; we work more, yet earn the bare minimum; we are constantly in touch digitally, yet we feel more disconnected than we have ever been. We discuss the relation between our ‘imperial mode of living’, environmental destruction and global power asymmetries, and take a first glimpse at the alternative of Degrowth. We end our session by kicking off the project on which we will work together over the course of the four days.

24.05. – Day 2 – From Green Growth to Degrowth (10:00-13:00)
On the second day, we start exploring alternatives to exploitative growth-centered economies.  As a first step, we will unravel the myth of green growth that is guiding sustainable development concepts around the world. Going from there, we will learn about Degrowth as an activist claim and academic discourse, its historical and theoretical roots (ranging from feminism to decolonialism and ecological economics), basic assumptions and proposals. How to get from the status quo to a Degrowth future will be the focus of the last part of this session as we dive into the topic of strategies for social-ecological transformations.

26.05. – Day 3 – Good life for all globally: vision and strategy (10:00-13:00)
Degrowth strives for a self-determined life in dignity for all. But what transformations are needed to achieve such an existence, for truly everyone? On this workshop day, we take the Degrowth vision to the global level. We propose that a transition to a socially and ecologically just world requires a radical reorientation of values. These include a reduction of consumption in the Global North and focusing on sufficiency and commons instead, so as to restore ecological balance. On the social and political level, we discuss the importance of a re-democratization of the economy, feminist perspectives and the need for global solidarity. We focus on strategies needed for ‘degrowing’ those things we need less of (fossil fuel industry, aviation, tax havens, planned obsolescence etc.), while expanding those we need more of (sustainable forms of housing, public healthcare, organic agriculture etc.).

27.05. – Day 4 – Degrowth & the city (10:00-13:00)
In our last session we want to get concrete. How can we apply Degrowth perspectives to the urban context, especially to current struggles of the climate justice movement such as the resistance against the construction of the Lobau motorway in Vienna? What could a degrowth city look like and what are strategies that bring us closer to it?

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