Förderverein Wachstumswende

Identity card

Following the 2010 annual meeting of the Circle of German environmental economists, several members decided to create a social network on the internet (wachstumswende.de) to facilitate cooperation between people interested in degrowth. The site quickly became a success, and in May 2012 an association known as Förderverein Wachstumswende was created in Freiburg to officially run the network.

Since then Förderverein Wachstumswende has become one of Germany’s foremost actors in degrowth. Leading the network, which now includes several organisations and projects, has remained one of the association’s main activities, as it provides a venue for information and discussion.

Förderverein Wachstumswende is also a platform that develops, promotes, leads and manages projects to help humanity get past the growth paradigm and strive for more social and environmental justice. These projects are directly supported by Förderverein in cooperation with other partners: the sole criteria for such projects is the implementation of degrowth principles.

Degrowth Conferences organising committee:

The degrowth movement began in the early 2000’s in France. A bridge between various philosophies and dynamics in both the north and the south, it emerged in 2002 in the wake of UNESCO’s “undoing development, remaking the world” seminar and through meetings with groups of activists in Lyon. Since then it has become international in scope and, in its role as ‘idea catalyst’, continues to stimulate debate and convergence on the physical, cultural and symbolic limits of growth. It also strives to be a meeting place, and a showcase, for solutions based on different approaches and operating at different levels.

The international dynamic around degrowth really emerged in 2008 at the first international conference, which was held in Paris. The degrowth slogan was translated into English and was soon being discussed in universities around the world. Since then, five other diverse yet complementary conferences have been held (Barcelona 2010, Montreal 2012, Venice 2012, Leipzig 2014, Budapest 2016). (The most recent edition was organized regionally, with particularly strong participation from partners in Slovenia (Focus) and Croatia (Institute for Political Ecology), as well as good connections with Bulgaria and Romania.)

Over the years, organisers of international conferences have joined together in an Organisation Committee. Members of this group organised conferences held in: Paris (Francois Schneider), Barcelona (Filka Sekulova, Federico Demaria), Montreal (Bob Thomson), Venice (Chiara Marchetti, Silvio Cristiano, Jean-Louis Alliot), Leipzig (Nina Treu, Corinna Burkhart, Barbara Muraca, Gualter Baptista), Budapest (Lidija Zivcic, Mladen Domazet, Vincent Liegey), Malmö (Ekaterina Chertkovskaya), Mexico City (Miguel Valencia) and Brussels (Olivier Derruine).

Objectives

The movement’s objective is to:

  • break with discourse on growth and consumerism,

  • reactivate reflection on alternative projects for post-development,

  • encourage reflection on the values of autonomy, democracy, justice, solidarity, liberty and equality,

  • develop a theoretical and interpretive framework for ecological transition movements.

The goal is to work through democratic processes to bring about socially sustainable and fair reductions in the physical size of the overall economic system, until it shrinks to a level considered environmentally sustainable. Such a change would probably require, particularly in the richest countries, profound changes in the institutions of capitalist societies, lifestyles and the popular imagination as well.

Modes of action

  • expertise
  • networking of actors
  • books, reviews publishing
  • meetings, exchanges, assemblies
  • research, analysis

Thematic areas

  • economy
  • governance