The following are brief responses to complex topics. To explore these questions in greater detail see this list of resources.
What is degrowth?
Degrowth is about living better with less; having a higher quality of life while using less energy and material resources. Degrowth critiques capitalism for pursuing economic growth at all costs while causing human exploitation and environmental destruction. The degrowth movement advocates for societies to prioritize social and ecological well-being over corporate profits and ever-increasing production and consumption. This requires a radical redistribution of wealth and resources, a reduction in the material size of the global economy, and a shift in values towards care, community, and equity. Degrowth means transforming societies to ensure environmental justice and a good life for all within planetary boundaries. In other words, living simply so that others, human and non-human, may simply live.
But wouldn’t degrowth cause a recession?
Our economy is currently dependent on growth (measured by GDP). When an economy dependent on growth shrinks, a recession occurs which leads to often devastating consequences like job loss and other forms of economic disenfranchisement. Degrowth advocates for a different kind of economy that does not require ever-increasing growth. And we argue that this can be done while actually increasing individual, communal, and environmental wellbeing.
Can we have green growth?
If we want to live sustainably and justly… no. Growth masked as “green” will only continue patterns of increasing resource extraction leading to further environmental degradation (such as deforestation and massive mining projects) and negative social impacts (such as displaced communities and polluted water). Furthermore, transitions to “green” energy alternatives, without degrowth, will not occur at the rate necessary to keep us below temperature targets as outlined in the Paris Agreement.
So is degrowth against green technology?
No! Green technology has an important role to play in sustainable transformations. From our perspective, though, it must be done justly and not for the sake of expanding profits.