We must consider that managed degrowth is likely an impossible platform of change in regards to a political movement actively affecting change with broad support. A degrowth platform of reflection is another story. Degrowth as an academic reference is vital for growthers to reflect on. True degrowth must start with behavior and with tech following. If behavior is going to be adapted even around the margins than a proper degrowth “ism” need to be developed. This means active behavioral changes make critical decisions of what tech to use in the abstract and theoretical. It is important to realize the world is locked into the trap of growth by its nature so only some change can be affected. Failure is the end game but a less failure should be the goal of a degrowther.
A degrowth system would be similar to what the Amish do when the restrict tech based upon its effect on the community. Society is locked into a carbon trap with path dependencies of a car culture of growth. Delocalization is the result. Degrowthers should realize the planet will degrowth civilization and this will be done in a destructive way with abandonment, dysfunction, and the irrational. These forces of destructive change will be part of any degrowth managed or not but the destructive part can be mitigated with a managed process. Management requires behavior first with decisions on the tech and networks following this behavioral leadership. So the modern degrowther should focus on behavior as the beacon.
A critical area where degrowth can make a significant impact is at the local of people and place. Individuals and small groups can embrace degrowth for reason of Green Prepping. This means footprint reductions to increase resilience and sustainability in the face of shocks but also restoration of the planet at the local. The key thing to understand here is a degrowther at the local individual level will have to participate in growth to survive. What this means is a surreal of living with growth to leave it. This takes a special mindset of triage. Triage is a prioritization process. So, a degrowther at the grassroots level will have to use growth to degrowth by triaging out destructive growth for the constructive. The reason this approach must be taken is growth policies are firmly in charge and unmovably because of the nature of late stage capitalism and globalism. Competitive cooperative nature of globalism make change to a cooperative with less competition almost impossible because of the ingrained nature of competition to achieve the best results to systems. Price and performance are the new value. This makes public good secondary to the private profit.
With this understood than the individual must see past this and understand this system will break down in a self-organizing way. Growth cannot continue in a finite of limits. The individual then embraces degrowth with growth. This incongruous juxtaposition is a paradox. You manage your degrowth with growth resources. This takes a behavior of downsizing affluence and replacing the loss with Spiritual wealth of meaning because you are embracing poverty which is something alien to the status quo world of growth. This means using tech that preps for decline. It means embracing the old ways with the new in a hybridization that will require investment. Low carbon capture of the old ways of permaculture was done in localism, seasonality, and intermittency. To get to this point requires investments. Investments require being part of the growth world but these investments are in systems and tech less affluent but more sustainable and resilient. This is the poverty of it that yields the spiritual meaning of being prepped and greening of the planet. This key point is the paradox of degrowth. So, degrowth actually increases growth but the right kind of growth. The right kind of growth will be what is left when the macro world of growth fails which is locked in anyway.
So, the proper behavior will focus on the right investments that eventually allow a lower footprint. In the beginning of this process a managed “wise” growth is called for. It can be called a realistic degrowth. Efficiency is a key element but so is redundancy and slower living. To get to this slower living will require efficiency until diminishing returns are hit. These diminishing returns also must be defined differently and reflect the green of the planet and the prepping of the safety of the local of people and place instead of more performance at a cheaper price of the status quo. Status quo efficiency is really price based and degrowth efficiency “adapted” value based.
So, in a nut shell this is an inflection of behavior that drives a new growth that is a cocoon of a coming metamorphosis. The degrowth centered growth will be what is left when the other status quo growth is blown away by a decline process ultimately ending in collpase. Multiple seeds will appear on the landscape where localism has been planted once the storm of change passes by. A new degrowther will start with the acceptance of eventual collpase to begin his journey of growth based degrowth. Realgreenadaptation.blog
6 thoughts on “REAL Green Degrowth”
Very good. This could be a good basis for a book (if you are not already writing one).
I am not a writer but maybe I will find someone to help me. I am so busy with the farm it is hard to find time. BTW, I read through your stuff. Thumbs up excellent!
What’s great about your work is that you speak to the reality and practicality of uncoupling from ‘growth as we know it’ to a new of form growth. While I have written of that in a theoretical sense, you are writing about that in a practical sense from the perspective of actually doing it. I was going to eventually get around to formulating how that would work, but you are already setting that out here (which means I could refer to your work with regards to some of that and build out other pathways of my thoughts on the transition).
Therefore, I would highly recommend that you put these essays together (perhaps in an e-book) as I aim to do with my writings too.
I’m not a professional writer either, but felt compelled to write about these subjects as I feel that the conceptual frameworks need to be laid for others to elaborate and build on them theoretically and practically. ‘Someone’ has to do it and I see very few people factoring in the realities and practicalities of what a do-able transition would and can be like.
In that sense we can collaborate informally and spontaneously in an uncoordinated way as we go along, probably with some overlap here and there.
My writing can be sporadic as I have to make the time for it (I am still town-based and work remotely online), but reading your work inspires me to keep on keeping on.
First, I want to compliment you on this chapter:
I could not copy and paste it but I instead did screen shots so I can save something that for me is from someone who “gets it” This chapter of your work is excellent. Of course, you and I live in different places with different people and other differences but the key point is the underlying understanding of the current time and the current civilization. We both have a vision of something needed to navigate this shift. I save many things to my notes for my monastery of knowledge for the future generation. So, I am not going to plagiarize anything from your work as my own. It is more like a Native American finding a sign and saving it to his medicine bag.
I am a modern shaman and alchemist. The planet is speaking through me because I have been awakened. This happened in 03 and it was through a beaver at a creek by the farm I lived on then. Now don’t think me nutter because this experience is spiritual so it is undefinable in everyday explanations. I just point out that it was the inflection for my life that took me on a journey that I am now in. I had some hard times in between then and now of learning and loss. I am just a normal person and not a nutter about this. If you were to meet me personally, I would seem normal and well adapted. I humbly except direction from the planet so I practice her will. I speak on her behalf. This is personal and metaphysical. If you have not been awakened you do not understand what I just said. She put me on this journey I am following dutifully.
What I say is not mine it is hers. Everything I have and all that I have learned has come from her. So, in this sense anything I say is yours to use as you see fit. It is of my opinion that the power of the planet only comes from doing the planets will. If any of these powers that come from her awakening and the resulting esoteric knowledge that awakening gives you is used for personal gain then it is lost. That said we are human and will follow our nature of the isolated ego in a dualistic world. Our world is one of the surreal with traps everywhere so in that light we are not perfect. I am constantly learning and being humbled by mistakes that I attempt to learn from. I am getting older (mid 50’s) and my mind and body is in decline. I accept this humbly because this is the way. What is mine is yours. If you want recognition for any of it then it is yours. Please acknowledge the planet as the author is all I ask.
I want to put down what I am doing in a writing of some kind and have thought about that for a year or so now. I have a mental picture and a physical life to explain. For me they go hand in hand because knowledge should be expressed materially to be most beneficial. I am not sure yet what form of writing I will do this work in. I am thinking of finding a student to do this for me and pay them. If I found the right person that could also embrace this message. This ideally would be a person I could train also. I am not quite there because I am in my last leg of my green prep homestead. I am still building up a few things and rounding out my green prep portfolio of assets but also knowledge. There is only so much time available and money. This has created the situation of building up and maintaining what I have. This is double the work so I want to get the building up finished at least as a major part of my daily activity. A permaculture low carbon capture lifestyle is very busy. It is a lot of little chores that add up to a creation. It is daily and never ends. Animals and plants don’t turn off the laptop, they live in a human system that must be managed.
I am all for collaboration and communication. I will offer you any advice I can from my experience and point of view of what I am doing in hopes of assisting you if you choose to build out a physical homestead and monastery. You already have your blog that is the knowledge part. If you want to just talk about this life that is fine too. I am looking for a few good souls to explain to this way of life I am living in the hopes they can take something from me to enhance their life in the name of the planet. I hope you might be one because I have yet to find anyone who cares much beyond a few curiosities.
My green prep email is email@example.com. It would help if you contact me via my blog to let me know you sent an email. I don’t go there regularly. If you feel email is better way to contact me then use it. If the blog is better use it. Again, I am still very busy and my plans are pointing to year end to be done with some necessary work. At that time, I plan on slowing down some and spending more time being intellectually creative and that might be forming my ideas into some kind of work. I am a very private person and want to avoid getting sidetracked from my local of people and place. Special people will be let into my life as is applicable. I would like to offer you that in a graduated way. Maybe over time if what we talk about coalesces with the blessing of the planet, we can take this possible relationship further. In the meantime, continue on with your brilliance of understanding!
My shaman name is Shoal because I am were deep water enters the shallows. My totem is the Kingfisher:
“The belted kingfisher is a large, conspicuous water kingfisher, the only member of that group commonly found in North America.”
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Dave, thanks very much for your reply! I will follow up shortly.
I read through some of your recent posts and your content is superb in my view – it is contemplative yet written from the experiential perspective while also being instructive and motivational for those in the right frame of mind. From an educational position this approach is ideal. Although it may sometimes feel or seem ‘futile’ to get people to ‘see’ the realities of what the transition is really about (REAL inner and outer Green Adaption, the inner driving the outer …) it’s completely the opposite. Foundational ideas for new ways of thinking (and living) never have wide audiences (at first). Foundational ideas are usually grass-roots and later provide the frameworks for further development on various levels. Someones has to lay the foundations and put up the first structures on a barren land – and that’s a lonely (yet personally fulfilling) task – and it has Great Value.
I would say that trying to bring more online attention to your work is important, because your writing needs eyes. Fortunately the online world provides many tools for sharing ideas and even with limited time one can make use of them.
I very much appreciate your feedback about my “No Limits to Growth” essay. It took 6 months of research (and a lot of reading of multiple sources + much rewriting) to put together. I was motivated to write it because I could see a lot of blind spots in the energy transition discussions and debates, but I wanted to bring in a more organic approach, which is to point out how far we have drifted from the land spiritually. We have lost reverence for the earth. Two book inspired this approach – ‘The Voice of the Earth’ by Theodore Roszak and ‘The Earth has a Soul’, a compilation of Carl Jung’s writings on the connection that the human soul has to the earth. If my work has been of value to just one person, then my work was not in vain. You are most welcome to integrate any of my work in yours – just like you I believe that it’s gifted through the universe and that it’s mean to be shared and integrated in the works of others. (The ‘copyright’ part only relates to how the words are put together, but the ideas that come from the universe trough me cannot be copyrighted … ) This is also the reason why I make all my work available online for free instead of limiting it to a book only. Most likely once I do publish it in a book, I will make a free version available. too
I have now made a link available at the top of the page to a Pdf version, so you can download it from there and I will get around to making .Pdf’s available for the rest of the articles on my site too (I will also e-mail them to to you once converted.).
I fully understand where you are coming from in terms of locality and selectivity in terms of connections and community. I have to a large extent withdrawn from social life (I am also a very private person) and spend most of my time in contemplation and writing, even though I usually find myself based mainly in urban areas. I have been relocating every two, three or four years (for the last 20+ years), so in some ways I’m a gypsy – and my moving around also inspires my philosophy and writing. I’m getting older now, just passed 50. Just arrived back recently in my land of birth, will see if I can find a spot close to land if there’s a way to make a more permanent transition. My work is internet-based, and due to my moving around I don’t have the resources that would fund a move to farming life, except if I wanted to do subsistence farming/living, which is something I would do if I must, but I’m not sure I would choose that lifestyle just yet – and this (of course) is the crux of the matter …
There are probably 1000’s of people like me who would are drawn to the idea of rural and farm living, but due to a lack of resources know that it would be a very hard life and that there’s no guarantee of making it/surviving … However, I believe that very soon – in the next year or two (if not sooner) economic conditions are going to deteriorate to such an extent that people will start to make the move into rural areas out of necessity and need – the bad conditions in cities will bring that about. It is THEN that your writing will be a very valuable resource for anyone who can access it.
Thank you for your offer to discuss the practicalities involved in making the transition. I will be in touch by e-mail and perhaps we can further this part of the discussion there.
I’ve been very busy working on another series of articles to do with inner transformation and development as spirituality is actually may main line of interest (and this transition we are going to is very much a spiritual one – first) and in that sense I could also describe myself as a shaman. As you probably noticed I work with Mayan cycles and cosmology. I believe – as you do – that this work is inspired by the Great Source and that we are just conduits for its energy. I will send you by e-mail a piece a read about that which encapsulates this vision/way of life and which inspired me further on this path. (I have also written my own piece on that which I will include too).
It would be great to touch base sometimes – I’ll be in touch.