The seemingly unstoppable drive for ever-increasing economic growth is doing irreparable damage to the planet, to flora and fauna, and to human wellbeing. Fokus Wachstumswende is a project that offers a civil society platform connecting various civil society organizations and scientific institutions that are looking into alternatives to an economic model that is dependent upon constant growth, and thus the depletion of the environment and the exhaustion of human resources.
The platform is based on a network called “Zivile Enquete Wachstum, Wohlstand Lebensqualität” (Civil Enquete Growth, Prosperity, Life Quality) that extends from the Degrowth-Conference 2014 in Leipzig. The network meets on a quarterly basis and includes representatives of a broad variety of civil society organizations and scientific institutions concerned with social or environmental issues. The intention is to raise awareness on post-growth-ideas, to facilitate an exchange between different levels and fields, and to create potential synergies. For instance, NGOs often lack a scientific or theoretical backbone for their work, while theoreticians often miss the benefit of practical experience. The sciences in turn lack the ability to communicate their findings to the public at large. The network also works with political foundations and unions, yet the work transcends party lines. Together they generate concrete suggestions for policies that look toward the notion of a post-growth society and they work on storytelling to communicate these proposals to a broader public.
On a superficial level, it may seem like the degrowth movement is all about economics and has little to do with care. Yet the vicious circle of increasing production and consumption that we call economic growth is quite clearly making a lot of people unhappy and sick. Beyond certain thresholds, more growth does not necessarily equal a better quality of life. Eliminating the external and internal pressures for senseless growth would allow us to reconsider human potential. Reducing working hours for example can lead to more time for exchange and support between people and new concepts for more societal participation. A post-growth economy is based on sustainable activity within planetary boundaries and a more healthy future!