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News
ICTA-UAB Gathers Worldwide Experts on Degrowth and Environmental Justice

Date: 2019-06-25

ICTA-UAB is organizing the sixth edition of the Summer School on Degrowth and Environmental Justice from June 23rd to July 5th.

The theme of this year is “Proposing pathways outside the growth, closure and depressive narratives” which tackles the concrete responses that degrowth can give to the societal belief that to be happier it is necessary to consume and possess more.


The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) will become a global hub of degrowth and environmental justice theories. For the sixth year running, some forty internationally renowned researchers, academics and activists from nineteen different countries will gather at the Summer School of Degrowth and Environmental Justice, which this year is entitled “Proposing pathways outside the growth, closure and depressive narratives”. 

The school is organized by ICTA-UAB in collaboration with Research & Degrowth and takes place from June 23 to July 5, 2019, at the ICTA-UAB building located in the UAB Bellaterra Campus, as well as in Barcelona (Spain) and Cerbère (France). Degrowth is an economic theory that places its bet on downscaling of production and consumption as the only way to increase human well-being and enhance ecological conditions and equity on the planet.

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.

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. They 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. They 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. The aim is 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.

The first week of the course will take place at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB), where the theoretical foundations of environmental justice and degrowth will be laid out. This will be 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.

The second week of the course will take place in Cerbère, in association with Can Decreix (see also Blog) a project of Research & Degrowth dedicated to put degrowth into practice in everyday life and habits. In this small village, the course gets deeper into degrowth transformation integrating the ideas of the first week.

It will bring together leading scholars in the field of degrowth and environmental justice such as Joan Martínez Alier, Professor of Economics and Economic History at the UAB and ICTA-UAB researcher, and ICTA-UAB researchers Giorgos Kallis, Marta Conde, François Schneider, Giacomo d’Alisa, Isabelle Anguelovski and Erik Gomez Baggetum, among many others.

More on information on the Summer School: https://summerschool.degrowth.org/

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