Political Ecology Network

Defending degrowth at ecomodernism’s home

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ENTITLE blog - a collaborative writing project on Political Ecology

by Sam Bliss

In June, I was invited to speak at the eight annual Breakthrough Dialogue, an annual invite-only conference where accomplished thinkers debate how to achieve prosperity for humans and nature. The Breakthrough Institute, an ecomodernist think-tank, welcomed my presence as a provocateur.

I was to participate in a panel called “Decoupling vs. Degrowth”. My role was the token “degrowther” making my case to a majority “decoupler” crowd. In this context, degrowthis the proposal to intentionally shrink the physical size of wealthy economies, whereas decouplingis the hope that growing economies will at last break free from growing resource use and environmental damage. The former renews environmentalism as a subversive political movement. The latter is firmly post-environmentalist, often associated with support for nuclear energy, industrial agriculture, and artificial technologies. With my mentor Giorgos Kallis, we’ve spent three years working together on a critical analysis of this post-environmentalism…

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