Degrowth and Feminist Political Ecology and Decoloniality: Reflections from the WEGO network

 

Organized under the theme ‘Caring Communities for Radical Change’, the 8th International Degrowth Conference (August 24-28, The Hague), brought together nearly 900 activists, academics, and artists to discuss how to confront the contradictions between endless economic growth and the ecological boundaries of our planet.

You can read the full text here.

In 2018, at the 6th International Degrowth Conference in Malmö, the Feminisms and Degrowth Alliance (FaDA) was launched to shape the degrowth movement from within. Feminist and decolonial thinking and doing was embedded as a fundamental approach throughout our conference weaving through many of the discussion and other key conversations as well. Nonetheless this is an ongoing process in-the-making which requires us to continuously and critically question both our political visions and everyday doings as we try to give meaning to the idea of caring communities and radical change.

‘… [understanding] care as central within degrowth and at the core of our economies and societies.’

These questions begun in Malmö were matured in The Hague discussions on Feminist Political Ecology (FPE) and Decoloniality throughout the sessions. FPE looked at feminisms, relations of care and wellbeing, with a focus on how we can understand care as central within degrowth and at the core of our economies and societies. In what way can economies be rearranged in terms of provisioning that care, taking into account health, aging and ability, whilst degrowing? And how do different strands of feminism such as feminist science and technology, decolonial and eco-feminism contribute to degrowth? Decoloniality discussions aimed to promote coalitions between degrowth movements and with individuals and collectives at the frontline of decolonization struggles in the Netherlands and Europe with workshops on the process of unlearning and relearning, looking at responsibility, debt and reparations as well as sessions to stimulate alternative imaginations and re-learning with others.

The FPE conversation argued how important it was to have a feminist perspective on degrowth. Because a movement for social and environmental needs must include diversities: diversities of gender, race, class, disability and sexual identities; and these diversities need to be analysed in meaningful ways. Because including these diversities is the only way to counteract and dismiss colonial, oppressive and exclusive continuities of our consumption patterns. Because a limit-full desirable inclusive future has to be shaped on reciprocity and responsibilities, to care for one another and for the planet that we are all part of. In this regard, the FPE Key Conversation also stressed the importance of learning from communities that are already practicing degrowth; communities, movements, collectives (and we heard many stories and experiences during the conference) that refuse to align themselves to the logic of capitalism and growth and of centralized oppressive market-oriented states; communities that are fighting every day for environmental and social justice, or simply for their own well-being and survival on earth.

You can read the full text here.

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