On December 8, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to spearhead his administration’s efforts to combat climate change. What does this order actually promise to accomplish? How does that compare with what other nations are doing? Is any of it enough to avert global calamity?
Traditional/original AT, based on communal social arrangements, hand-crafted from local, natural materials that cultures have used since centuries mostly for subsistence purposes, satisfies practically all of the principles of deep sustainability.
The only effective way to control carbon emissions, as well as related problems of pollution and biodiversity loss, is to address “overshoot,” the unconstrained use of energy and material resources well beyond planetary limits, particularly in the richer parts of the world.
The only real long-range solution to climate change centers on reining in human physical, social, and economic power dramatically, but in ways that preserve human dignity, autonomy, and solidarity.
‘Let’s always ask ourselves: Can I do without? Can I do less? Can I make it easier? And by the way, why do I have to do that? And couldn’t I do with what already exists?’
The choice is that either we end up with unmanaged decline, which would be catastrophic, or a managed levelling out of our economies, shaped by a shift in social values and expectations.
In this intervention I highlight an element that has been overlooked in this important debate about “progressive environmental futures” – the dismantling of fossil capitalism.
The English-language press is not informing the public thoughtfully of alternatives to our current political-economic system or the impact of unfettered growth on the planet.
Maybe we should rethink our metrics, measurements, and very meanings of progress, and start reorganising our economies in ways that celebrate human and non-human nature, rather than constrict it.
Students and scholars of steady-state economics must have noticed, by now, that the Degrowth movement in Europe has attained far more traction than the steady-state movement has in the USA (or anywhere).
What degrowth adds is the assertion that growth in high-income nations is not required in order to achieve a flourishing society. What is required is justice.
So, is green growth happening? The answer is no, not really. As of today, economic growth is still a vector of resource use and environmental degradation.