Degrowth and Environmental Justice Summer School 2019

Summer School 2019
June 24th – July 5th July 2019

Barcelona/Cerbère
An international summer school on methods, practices and activism around Degrowth & Environmental Justice

Proposing pathways outside the growth, closure and depressive narratives

Societal ever-expanding requirements have led to global competition for resources, and wealth being concentrated in a few hands. Dramatic societal crises and environmental conflicts emerge both in the South and in the North. The growth narrative builds on a very important belief: the idea that if we consume and possess more, we will be happier. However, from farmers’ protests in Delhi to buy nothing days, people stand against the present growth narrative and demand a different way of life that does not associate consumption with happiness.

As a response, degrowth develops other narratives and ideas. Over the last ten years, they have become more and more recognized. Recently a post-growth petition was signed by 90000 people. Scientific publications and special issues on degrowth are not rare anymore. We now count 10 major international conferences on degrowth and more to come.

On this basis, this year the summer school will focus on the concrete responses that degrowth can give, and aims to prepare the next policy makers, activists, and academics to discuss degrowth alternatives. We will explore the various sources of degrowth, and their need to be integrated. The summer school will bring visions of degrowth in different sectors such as housing, transport, food, low-tech and energy, building new exciting stories. We also aim to practice horizontally governance and take account of all important perspectives, be it from the grass-roots or from policy makers. We believe that a stable collaboration, trust, and coordination between activists, practitioners and researchers leads to mutual learning towards a new path of socio-ecological transformations and inspiring narratives.
The 2019 version of the summer school builds upon our previous experience and also includes many new discussions. We aim to respond to the challenges of our present context (climate change, economic crises, rise of extreme rights, “Gilets Jaune” demonstrations…) by disseminating cutting-edge research on degrowth and environmental justice. While the course will have a strong academic orientation, there will be a dedicated space for practice, activism and art. It becomes more evident that practice helps to think, art helps to explain, and activism helps to connect and challenge current thinking.

You can find the tentative program here.

Course structure and description

The first week of the course took place at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona), where the theoretical foundations of environmental justice and degrowth were laid out. This was followed by going deeper into particular pressing problems and potential solutions of our times along with visiting exemplary projects and initiatives based on the principles of degrowth and relevant for environmental justice.