Announcing Embodying Degrowth: An Event with The Maintainers Movement Fellows

The words "Embodying Degrowth" in white, atop a film strip with different images faded in the background. The images in the film strip range from mountains, water, bridges, patina on buildings, and of the sky
Thursday, December 15 2022 | 2–3 PM EST | Register for the event here!


Join The Maintainers Movement Fellows for an end-of-year celebration as they showcase their collaborative project, Embodying Degrowth.

The 2022 Maintainers Movement Fellowship is a year-long fellowship to advance the movement for maintenance thinking and action. The fellowship brought together a group of individuals whose maintenance, repair, and care work has substantial connections to the environment. During the fellowship, they learned from and with their peers; communicated complex ideas in accessible ways for a broad audience, and advanced the Maintainers’ vision for a more caring and well-maintained world.

This event serves as a celebration of this year-long fellowship, where we wish to further tie together the many aspects of their collaborative project. Throughout the year, they wove together understandings and questions relating to maintenance, care  and how it relates to the current environmental challenges we face.

The Embodying Degrowth project ties together several conversations the Movement Fellows held with interviewees. The Movement Fellows will explore the themes and share about their process of coming to better understand what is needed to embody degrowth.

“To even consider the practical possibilities of degrowth requires working from the acknowledgement that life on this planet is a complex web of inter-being in which the conditions for our ability to live are fundamentally intertwined. No model for planetary co-existence, growth-based or otherwise, can sustain itself if it does not attend to that sacred fact.”

Max Alvarez, host of the Working People Podcast will introduce the Embodying Degrowth episode, which will then lead us to talk about the project as a whole. From there, we’ll be joined with the Fellowship group as they converse about the project and spotlight those they interviewed throughout the project. To close, we’ll open up the floor to our audience to share reflections, offer actionable solutions, and celebrate the work of The Maintainers Movement Fellowship.

After the event, you will receive a takeaway document, outlining the many aspects, questions, and actions that you can take to embody degrowth.

Register for the event here!

This event will take place online at 11 AM PST | 1 PM CST | 2 PM EST


Moderator and Fellow:

Maximillian Alvarez

Editor-in-Chief of “The Real News Network” & Host of “Working People” podcast

Maximillian Alvarez is the Editor-in-Chief of The Real News Network and the host of Working People, “a podcast about the lives, jobs, dreams, and struggles of the working class today.” Prior to joining The Real News, he was an Associate Editor at The Chronicle of Higher Education and graduated with a dual-PhD in History and Comparative Literature from the University of Michigan. His work has been featured in a range of outlets, including The NationIn These TimesBoston ReviewTruthout, and The Baffler. He has a book of interviews coming out in early 2022 with OR Books titled The Work of Living: Working People Talk About Their Lives and the Year the World Broke.



Sam Bennett

Ethnographer, Maker, and Designer

Sam Bennett is an ethnographer, maker, and designer who believes in slow research that minimally impacts our planet and advocates for human well-being. You can find her investigating people’s relationships to objects in the domestic space, making with mycelium and discarded materials, and co-running Repair Shop.  She is a senior researcher at Healthy Materials Lab and also teaches at Parsons School of Design, Pratt Institute, and New Jersey Institute of Technology in the Interior Design and Industrial Design departments.


Leila D. Behjat

Architect, Designer, Researcher

Leila D. Behjat is a creative solution finder with a high sense for design and aesthetics. With a Diplom-Ingenieur (Masters) in Architecture from Hafencity Universitaet, Hamburg, Germany, she has worked globally in the fields of interior and lighting design on both residential and commercial projects. In recent years, she has focused on renovation with healthier building materials. Her current role as senior researcher at Healthy Materials Lab at Parsons School of Design deepens her motivation to contribute to creating spaces that are healthier and joyful to humans and the planet as a whole.


Rheanna Chen

Ecologist, Food Justice Advocate, Community Worker, and Mindfulness teacher

Rheanna is devoted to the world of ecology, art and connection. She has a lifelong commitment to sustainable development in the Caribbean; using strong systems thinking, capacity building and communication skills to design inclusive spaces for food sovereignty, climate resilience and community empowerment. The loss of her mother to leukaemia at age 4, sparked her interest in holistic health and her journey as yoga/ mindfulness teacher over the last 15 years. She has a Bsc in International Agriculture Development and a Masters in Gastronomy. She is currently based in Trinidad, at Ajoupa Pottery where you will find her in the garden, making pottery and focused on hospitality and food. She lives by the philosophy- grow, gather and nourish.


Tona Rodriguez-Nikl

Structural engineer, Teacher, Author

As a Maintainers Fellow, Tona is interested in how technological development will adapt to the changing social conditions and physical realities produced by climate change. Tona is a structural engineer by training and is a Professor of Civil Engineering at California State University, Los Angeles. His disciplinary work is in earthquake engineering. Beyond this, Tona is the chair of the Engineering Philosophy Committee of the Structural Engineering Institute and previously served on its Sustainability Committee. He is also the co-author of a textbook on engineering ethics and teaches a class on the social aspects of disasters. Tona’s work as a Maintainers Fellow relates to two broad areas. The first is integrating the idea of care into engineering. The second is understanding engineering’s relation to well-being in a post-growth economy.



We encourage all event participants to review The Maintainers’ Code of Engagement and Practice, which can be found by scrolling to the bottom of the “about” page on the website.

The Maintainers is a global research network interested in the concepts of maintenance, infrastructure, repair, and the myriad forms of labor and expertise that sustain our human-built world. Our members come from a variety of backgrounds, including engineers, business leaders, academic historians, social scientists, government, non-profit agencies, artists, activists, coders, and more.