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A good life for everyone, first results of the Degrowth-Conference 2014

Di Redazione VicenzaPiù Giovedi 2 Ottobre 2014 alle 14:52 | 0 commenti

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Degrowth Conference Leipzig 2014 - On 6 September 2014 the Fourth International Conference on Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity ended. 3000 participants from 74 countries came to the city of Leipzig, Germany to discuss, reflect artistically and try out practically what a good life for humans and nature could look like beyond the paradigm of economic growth.

Inspired by renowned speakers like Naomi Klein, Alberto Acosta, Camila Moreno and Ulrich Brand the conference participants developed visions and strategies for a social and ecological transformation.

For the organizers, the conference was a huge success, and so Eva Mahnke from the German climate-magazine "klimaretter.info" wrote: "The run on the Fourth International Degrowth-Conference in Leipzig is flooding the halls; the atmosphere is enthusiastic. The conference-opening on Tuesday evening shows: The growth-critical movement has reached a remarkable size and dynamic."

This special atmosphere could be felt throughout the event and was not restricted to intensive discussions - more than 1000 participants also lived the new economic vision by voluntarily helping with all kinds of tasks. They chopped, for example, 1250 kg vegetables for the kitchen-collective which provided everyone with two hot meals every day.

At the conference, many already existing alternatives were presented and further developed. On the one hand, concepts such as peer-production and solidarity economy were reflected. On the other hand, practical workshops where participants could visit „tiny homes“, build seed-boxes and produce new items from waste were available. Moreover, companies which have already started working socially, ecologically and democratically were on site and shared their knowledge.

At the closing plenary, Greek professor Giorgios Kallis, Brazilian activist Lucia Ortiz and Christopher Laumanns, one of the conference spokespersons, gave answers to the question on how to move on. All three agreed that the diversity of the degrowth-movement can be seen as a strength which helps to spread the ideas in many areas of society. Christopher Laumanns, however, also sees the need to focus on climate protection: "It is impossible to make the necessary emission cuts while the economy is growing. The degrowth movement has to make this clear! In order to effectively protect the climate, resistance against big polluters will be needed as much as projects for a new economy. Here, degrowth can become practical, for example in the struggle against lignite mining."

The conference ended with a colourful demonstration through the city of Leipzig and an action-training in front of a local coal power plant.

The conference team is now working on a detailed documentation of the event. The keynote speeches given by, amongst others, Naomi Klein, Michel Bauwens and Barbara Muraca and a number of other sessions are already available as videos on the conference website. The knowledge collected and created at the conference on how to build a social, ecological and democratic economy will be made available in a number of publications.


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