An Introduction to Degrowth

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Degrowth is a process of planned and democratic reduction of production and consumption in rich countries, eventually reaching a steady state that operates within Earth’s biophysical limits.  The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in Chapter 5 of its latest report on Mitigation of Climate Change, has called for “consumption reduction, both voluntary and policy-induced” in countries of the Global North.  

On Sunday, May 22, we will discuss the concept of degrowth, how it might play out in the future, and how it could lead to more satisfying lives for all.  On a personal level degrowth is in many ways a spiritual issue; it is about voluntary simplicity as a lifestyle choice, one which aligns with many spiritual traditions, including the Testimony of Simplicity practiced by many within the American Society of Friends.  On a policy level, degrowth must include imposed limits on consumption and a shift away from capitalist notions of progress.  

Anne Burke is a board member of Columbia Resilience, part of the world-wide Transition Town network.
She is a former legal services lawyer, home-schooling mom, and psychiatric nurse. She now lives mostly
on her farm in Saluda County, where she is experimenting with growing all open-pollinated vegetable
varieties and seed-saving.