• NZ Events, Articles, & Media about Degrowth

     

     

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    11th July, 2024

     

    Hannah Blumhardt

     

     

    "... We can do this by regulating for, and investing in, durability, reusability and repairability of essential items, and phasing out and divesting from items and business models that we don’t need... This frees us up to direct our creative energies upstream, towards turning off the tap, rather than continually mopping up the mess."

     

     

     

     

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    7th July, 2024

     

    Catherine Knight, PhD

     

     

    We’ve heard of the ‘15-minute city’ but what about the ‘urban village’? Let’s look to an early 20th century Mt Albert for answers to modern transport problems.

     

     

    "... By investing in ‘urban commons’ (the public goods that enhance the wellbeing of the whole community not just land-owners), we will also make our societies more equitable – which will become increasingly vital if we are to avoid the worst forms of social disintegration as climate breakdown, geopolitical turmoil, and energy and resource constraints begin to reshape our economy and society..."

     

     

     

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    Environmentalists confronted by inconvenient truths

    14 June, 2024

     

     

    David Williams

     

    An environmental conference is challenged on the dangers of being self righteous, and the possible pitfalls of our economic choices.

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    11 April, 2024

     

    In this webinar Ted argued that attempts to reform the current economic system are futile, and that efforts should focus on building a new system, providing examples from The Simpler Way.

     

    The video quality of the Ted Trainer webinar left much to be desired. So we have used the audio only, for those that would like to listen to Ted’s presentation.

     

     

     

     

     

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    27 March, 2024

     

    Webinar recording

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    Aotearoa's Renewable Future - understanding energy and material flows

    22 March, 2024

     

    Interactive workshop: Auckland

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    5 March, 2024

     

    Wellington

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    18 December, 2023

     

    In this podcast episode, we cover:

     

    Mike’s research and achievements in the past year

    The carbon cycle, our net zero delusion and the impossibilities of offsetting

    The problems with green growth

    Understanding the concept of energy return on invested (EROI)

    Our multiple crises (it’s not just climate!) as a symptom of overshoot

    Our use of energy and the inevitability of Degrowth

    A reality check on renewables

    Lack of environmental truth and reality in mainstream media

    Degrowth Aotearoa New Zealand

    An update on the nitrate levels in New Zealand’s freshwater

    Dr Mike answers Listener questions

    Taking action in 2024

     

     

     

     

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    18 October, 2023

     

    Mike Joy

    Phoebe Barnard

     

    "... Understanding the many dimensions of the behavioural crisis, including the influence of power structures and vested interests in a market economy, is crucial. Defusing and even co-opting those forces to reform the economy and reverse the damage is the challenge.

    It will require a concerted multi-disciplinary effort to identify the best ways to produce a rapid global adoption of new norms for consumption, reproduction and waste. The survival of complex life on Earth is the goal."

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    Catherine Knight, PhD

     

    In a guest post, Catherine Knight continues the conversation about where the election debate falls short by focusing on 'Homo Economicus' instead of the 'Economics of Sufficiency'

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    3 October, 2023

     

     

    The Kākā’s climate correspondent Cathrine Dyer and

    Bernard Hickey had a chat with environmental historian and author Catherine Knight about why ‘feel good' actions like recycling and owning an electric car are unlikely to be enough to create a transition to zero emissions, let alone a just one.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    27 September, 2023

     

    Greg Hurrell

     

    Business Desk: "Climate scientists are warning of the dire consequences to human societies and nature if average temperatures rise much more than 1.5°C. Around the world, and in New Zealand, the best minds are working feverishly to replace fossil fuels with new forms of renewable energy. Conferences bring them together to discuss the transition to net-zero emissions by 2050. But there are some who think this is all in vain. They say climate change is just one symptom caused by the transgression of global boundaries..."

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    26 September, 2023

     

    Stephen Blyth

     

    "Attending the recent Beyond Degrowth Aotearoa conference got me thinking about how we achieve social change on a scale that ensurses we avoid hitting societal roadblocks."

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    2 September, 2023

     

    "Rethinking business in terms of focusing on meeting basic needs, relying primarily on locally available resources at a rate which can be replenished, and eliminating profit from business models, are all essential features of a genuinely sustainable business paradigm. But such requirements are unlikely without broader social change. The business community prides itself on its ability to innovate and be creative. The stakes could not be higher for demonstrating those features now, along with widespread government and public involvement."

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    16 August, 2023

     

    Mike Joy, PhD

     

     

    ".. Many economists criticising the developing degrowth movement fail to appreciate this critical point of Earth’s biophysical limits.

    Ecologists on the other hand see the human economy as a subset of the biosphere. Their perspective highlights the urgency with which we need to reduce our demands on the biosphere to avoid a disastrous ecological collapse, with consequences for us and all other species.."

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    14 August, 2023

     

    Podcast interview: Deirdre Kent is a long-time environmental activist with a background in teaching, campaigning, and lobbying and is also a prolific author, having written six books. Deirdre has been involved in numerous research and political campaigning efforts and has established various organisations such as Transition Town Ōtaki, the Ōtaki Timebank and The New Economics Party.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    17 July, 2023

     

     

    In this podcast episode, we discuss:

    • Sahra’s fascinating background and her experience as a midwife in Aotearoa and overseas
    • Degrowth Aotearoa NZ (DANZ)
    • Degrowth 101 – definitions, common misconceptions, and the concept of throughput
    • Shifting mindsets and societal values for systemic change
    • The concepts and goals of DANZ
    • Degrowth community action and fostering a collectivism mindset
    • Changes required in industrialised nations vs developing nations
    • Getting degrowth into the national conversation

    The upcoming DANZ conference

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    13 July, 2023

     

    Catherine Knight, PhD

     

    To assume our continued destruction of the planet’s life-supporting systems could lead to any other outcome than collapse is irrational. But, as writes Dr Catherine Knight, the prospect of a 'great unravelling' does present an opportunity.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    13 July, 2023

     

    Webinar with:

     

    - Gareth Hughes, New Zealand Lead, Wellbeing Economic Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand
    - Peter Nunns, Director of Economics, New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, Te Waihanga
    - Peri Zee, Urban planner and sustainable transport professional working towards more inclusive and connected communities who are supported to live good lives within planetary boundaries
    - Professor Jonathan Boston ONZM, Emeritus Professor of Public Policy Wellington School of Business and Government
    - Jack Santa Barbara, retired CEO, academic, environmental activist, and philanthropist

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    3 July, 2023

     
    In this podcast episode, we discuss:

    • Nathan’s background and his work as a transition engineer
    • Biophysical constraints vs wishful thinking
    • Degrowth Aotearoa New Zealand and their advocacy work
    • Degrowth 101 – what is degrowth?
    • The challenges and limitations of green growth
    • The concept of net energy, and its decrease over time
    • The impact of renewables on total energy consumption
    • Are renewable energy technologies truly renewable or scalable?
    • Promoting and transitioning to a degrowth paradigm in Western societies
    • Percentage growth rates and the rule of 70

    Taking action: Community level resilience and the fallacy of individual self-sufficiency

     

     

     

     

     

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    40 minute NZ interview with Gareth Vaughan

    The world needs to move to a new economic system where growth is replaced as the ultimate goal by meeting human needs within ecological limits, argues Gaya Herrington

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    28 June, 2023

     


    A well-known Kiwi scientist is visiting Tauranga on June 28, to explain the concept of degrowth, and why we can’t become a sustainable region without addressing the problems caused by rapid growth.

     

    “We must somehow stop this obsession with growth and instead consume less and waste less, or we will destroy our life-sustaining systems. True environmentalism protects those systems — rather than just maintaining our industrial way of life, but without carbon emissions.”

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    26 June, 2023

     

    DANZ webinar

    Jack Santa Barbara & Sahra Kress

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    18 June, 2023

     

    Catherine Knight, PhD

     

    ".. What if we made sufficiency a central guiding principal of our economy, as countries such as France are starting to do? What might that look like? I don’t know the answer to this, but I am convinced it is a question that needs to be explored. We have a Productivity Commission whose goal is to boost our economy's productivity. How about a Sufficiency Commission, whose goal would be to make our economy more sufficient, meeting New Zealanders’ needs within the biophysical limits of our country and the planet? With the best minds from government, industry, the Māori economy and academia, we could begin to shape the foundation for a more resilient economy – one much better able to withstand a future of escalating disruption and instability."

     

     

     

     

     

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    From Doughnuts to Degrowth
    14 June, 2023

     

    An evening presentation in Mapua with speakers

    Gareth Hughes and Jack Santa Barbara.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    Jack Santa Barbara argues we need to highlight the magnitude of the ecological challenges we face in order to respond appropriately.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    7 June, 2023

     

    Prof James Renwick

     

    ".. The ”degrowth” movement describes how we might achieve this. It involves moving towards a sharing economy that doesn’t need to grow. Resources are distributed more evenly, with widespread government support, cooperatives and local commerce thrive, goods are reused and recycled as much as possible.."

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    4 June, 2023

     

    Jack Santa Barbara, PhD

     

    "How to best avoid this risk? Perhaps some human wisdom would allow us to step back and look at what is driving our current multiple crises, and prioritise values that preserve biosphere integrity and human wellbeing within the web of life. Our narrow focus on profits and political dominance is blinding us to the enormity of the risks we face. AI, and especially AGI if it ever materialises, is a significant risk multiplier not unlike nuclear weapons (but more difficult to regulate).

    How to manage this challenge is not clear. If you’ve never engaged in social or political activism, perhaps this is the time to join with others in a worthy cause. It’s going to require all our skills and wisdom to deal with these crises, no matter what we call them."

     

     

     

     

     

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    30 May, 2023

     

    Catherine Knight, PhD

     

    "It is time – beyond time – we jettisoned this myth-making and embraced reality. Just as the architects of our current economic system designed the system around perpetual growth, we can redesign the economy around delivering wellbeing to all, within planetary limits."

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    15 May, 2023

     

    Murray Grimwood

     

    In this article, Murray assesses a recent Victoria University debate that pitted green growth against degrowth & sees difficult times ahead

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    9 May, 2023

     

     

    On May 6, 2023 Max Rashbrooke, published an Opinion Piece entitled, "Is degrowth the planet's saviour or a left-wing menace?"

     


    We feel there is significant public interest and so have provided this response in order to clarify many of the questions that Mr. Rashbrooke has raised — about the range of "Degrowth" concepts, in general, and about the particular thoughts and goals of the fast-growing "Degrowth" movement in New Zealand.

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    6 May, 2023

     

    Catherine Knight, PhD

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    Vicoria University, Wellington

    Moderated by Prof Jonathan Boston

     

    Dr Mike Joy

    Sahra Kress- DANZ

     

    Prof Robert McLachlan

    Peter Nunns- Director, Economics NZ Infrastructure Commission

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    Jack Santa Barbara, PhD

     

     

    "Natural systems evolved over eons to create enormous biodiversity and abundance for all living creatures. Our ecological overshoot is destroying nature’s capacity to continue the evolutionary marvel of a self-regulating biosphere."

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    Catherine Knight PhD

     

    Fabians Webinar

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    25 April, 2023

     

    Brent Barrett- Green City Councillor, scientist

     

    "What Degrowth offers is to ease off our energy use and forced growth, enabling us to work within nature’s limits. Which is rather better than ignoring the fact that endlessly demanding growth will take us to some rather dark places.

     

    While it takes some getting used to, there are some real positives to the Degrowth model. Like the opportunity to organise around sufficiency and satisfaction, rather than always craving more."

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    Dr Mike Joy

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    19 April, 2023

     

    Jack Santa Barbara PhD

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    6 April, 2023

     

    Jack Santa Barbara PhD

     

    ".. Once considered, degrowth ideas are actually quite attractive. Degrowth is a planned descent of economic activities to focus on essential needs, and involves providing the supports everyone needs to deal with the inevitable disruption.

     

    This planned disruption may not seem attractive – until you consider the consequences of not preparing your family and your community for less and less energy, year after year, for the next few decades."

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    27 March, 2023

     

    Jack Santa Barbara PhD

     

    ".. The power of consensus provided by a citizens’ assembly could be an important step to remedying that situation. Indeed, many citizens’ assemblies are what we need to come together as a community and as a nation to deal with unpleasant threats we can no longer ignore, and certainly cannot avoid. Divided we fall. United we stand."

     

     

     

     

     

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    20 March, 2023

     

    Catherine Knight PhD

     

    "Let’s democratise economics and tell politicians, policymakers and economists that we want the economy to work for people and the planet, not the other way around."

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    Sahra Kress

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    Piers Locke PhD, Hugh Ferguson, Tāne Feary

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    Catherine Knight PhD

     

    “In spite of the name, degrowth advocates do not suggest the carte blanche reduction of economic activity. They propose the downscaling of parts of the economy that do little to contribute to human wellbeing while causing enormous harm to the environment. Examples of such sectors are industrialised meat and dairy production, fast fashion, advertising, cars and SUVs, and aviation."

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    Jack Santa Barbara PhD

     

    ".. We need a big rethink of how we do things, how we conceive of the future, and what we regard as most important. Such a rethink can be applied not only to “rebuilding” the devastation of the past two storms. It can also be applied to redesigning any new developments we undertake. Doing the same as we did before will only make things worse.

    Perhaps discussing such redesign plans for your community now is a useful adaptation process for when a disaster strikes closer to home."

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    28 Feb, 2023

     

    Fliss Butcher

     

    "It is time to move from the endless pursuit of growth to the next phase – degrowth. Time to focus on environmental and human wellbeing. Others have been leading the discussion about Degrowth on Newsroom (Jack Santa Barbara, Rod Oram, Catherine Knight, Jess Berentson-Shaw), all offering informative, solid arguments for business-not-as-usual. My focus here is a solution regarding the environment and the climate crisis."

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    25 Feb, 2023

     

    Catherine Knight PhD

     

    "Amid the incomprehensible destruction and tragedy that has unfolded over the past few weeks – first the catastrophic North Island floods and then the apocalyptic scenes left after Cyclone Gabrielle – two glimmerings of a better future have bubbled up among the silt and debris-laden floodwaters.

     

    That is, the importance of localism and human connection.

     

    Only system-wide change will enable us to DOWNSCALE our economy in time to have any chance of averting catastrophe.”

     

     

     

     

     

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    14 Feb, 2023

     

    Catherine Knight PhD

     

    "There are still many more questions around how we might design and achieve a truly wellbeing-centred economy – and the degrowth scholarship is alert to these unknowns – but isn’t now the time to be asking and exploring these questions? There are numerous bright minds in government, industry and in academia who are thinking deeply about these issues. Why not bring these people together to undertake an honest and robust examination of the pathways offered by degrowth and other postgrowth economic scholarship and how policies might be designed to guide us away from the precipice and towards a future where our economic system is in balance with the natural world?"

     

     

     

     

     

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    The future must use less energy

    2 Feb, 2023

     

    Catherine Knight PhD

     

    ".. For those who think degrowth sounds like a radical, subversive term that is dangerous to even contemplate – think again: Air New Zealand has among its advisers a degrowth academic – Professor Tim Jackson. Maybe Air NZ executives have seen these graphs and know what lies ahead – that it is not more exponential growth enabled by a one-off bonanza of cheap and plentiful fossil fuel.

    The sooner we grasp the reality of energy descent, the sooner we can make an ordered, just transition to a future in which we use less but have more – of the things that really matter."

     

     

     

     

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    Catherine Knight PhD

     

    ".. At a local level, councils could be encouraging and supporting urban and peri-urban community gardens or food forests, perhaps using under-utilised council land. Community composting would mean that the valuable nutrients in organic waste can be used to grow food rather than contributing to greenhouse gas emissions in landfills. These initiatives would not only increase local resilience and improve access to fruit and vegetables among our most vulnerable communities, but also strengthen social (including intergenerational) connection, enhance ties to place/whenua and nurture an attitude of kaitiakitanga/stewardship of the land, support healthy lifestyles, and provide people with essential skills (how to grow their own food).

     

    Only we as New Zealanders can strengthen our country’s resilience against future shocks. Improving food security, especially at the regional level, would be a good place to start."

     

     

     

     

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    Catherine Knight PhD

     

    ".. So, despite all the noise we are bombarded with, solving the climate and ecological crises could not in fact be any simpler – we need to consume less energy and resources and bring our economies back within planetary boundaries.

     

    Other than leave our car in the garage and switch lights off when we are not using them, what can you and I do? Urge our government to implement policies that put human and ecological wellbeing at their centre, not growth."

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    4 Jan, 2023

     

    Jack Santa Barbara PhD

     

    "..There are a variety of ways of achieving this balance, but we currently don’t pay much attention to either carrying capacity, or what influences it – consumption and population. This is one of those important but difficult conversations we need to have with each other, both within and across nations.

    We are unlikely to satisfactorily deal with any of the existential environmental or social threats we face until we do."