We invite you to download and explore the Mural board created by the Movement Fellows to develop themes and plan the content for the Embodying Degrowth project.
The planet we share, the only home we’ve ever known, has its limits. Its resources, its ability to sustain all life, are not infinite—and every day we are bearing witness to the disastrous consequences of mortgaging our collective future on the false belief that they are. The path we are on now is untenable, something’s going to give. Whether it comes from us or for us, change is coming nonetheless.
As an ecologically and civilizationally sustainable alternative to an unsustainable global system driven by the economic necessity of infinite growth, “degrowth” can mean many things and could take many practical forms. But “degrowth” is perhaps less useful as a prescribed solution, a blueprint for the future, than as a frame for thinking and acting differently in the present.
“What does degrowth look like in practice? How are different people, in different parts of the world, already embodying and enacting degrowth in their daily lives?” These questions have no single answer, but posing the questions in the first place, and searching for the numerous potential answers, is an essential process that can help us better diagnose what is off balance in our world and what it would take to heal.
As we have realized again and again over the course of this group project for The Maintainers Fellowship, 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. Putting degrowth into practice, moreover, does not necessarily involve sudden, drastic changes—on the individual or societal level—to the way things are, nor does it require a robust, concerted, or shared conviction about “degrowth” as such. One may (and many do) embody degrowth by practicing traditional farming techniques and non-capitalistic approaches to commerce; some may develop more ecologically conscientious approaches to engineering and maintaining the infrastructure of our built world, while others may find themselves engaging in sustainable practices just by laboring diligently to preserve what’s around us with care and minimal waste; others still may be working, in whatever capacity, to make the transition away from the fossil fuel economy—and the transition toward a planetarily sustainable economic system that more equitably distributes resources to serve the needs of all—a possibility.
All of these, we think, are examples of embodying degrowth, and we’d like to introduce you to a number of incredible people we spoke to about what doing the work of degrowth—or whatever we want to call it—looks like and means to them. We’d also like to leave you with this thought: None of these examples, of course, are enough on their own to bring about the total changes we need to see in the world in order to survive and thrive, but each makes those changes more possible. The more we act (and the more of us who act) as if a better world is possible, the more possible a better world becomes.
Profiles in Degrowth
The people and organizations featured in the profiles below embody different elements of degrowth, maintenance, and sustainability. We invite you to explore the broad array of inspiring projects and emergent approaches. Use the tags at the bottom of the profiles to follow different themes or find content created by specific Fellows.
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. Learn more about The Movement … More →
12/16/2022 2 PM EDT 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. Learn … More →
A list of the readings and resources that informed the Movement Fellows’ thinking on degrowth, maintenance, and care throughout the course of the project. Alvarez, Maximilian. (2018, June 20). The Death of Media. The Baffler. https://thebaffler.com/latest/the-death-of-media Alvarez, Maximilian. (2020, May … More →