A voice is rising among those who are deeply concerned with global environmental degradation and escalating poverty and inequality. A root of the problem lies in an unrelenting priority given to economic growth. Degrowth is a new social and economic paradigm that challenges the growth–driven economic model on which existing policies are based. To build on the emergent international discussion on degrowth, the Montreal International Conference on Degrowth in the Americas will articulate the needs and aspirations of the Americas for a post-growth, more equitable and better world.
Nineteen years after the Earth Summit in Rio the growth-driven "sustainable development discourse" has failed. It has not offered a convincing solution to one of the most dramatic crises in history: how to avert ecological collapse while enhancing social justice. A degrowth perspective will help us visualize and build towards a post-growth world.
Drawing from previous degrowth conferences in Paris and Barcelona, the Montreal conference, a co-operative effort of four Montreal Universities, will focus on the particular situations and dynamics of the Americas. What does degrowth mean for our Hemisphere with its rich geographical, cultural, social and economic diversity? How can degrowth models apply to different contexts from the Arctic to Tierra del Fuego? What does degrowth mean for the indigenous peoples of the Americas and their aspirations for their lands and peoples?
In the spirit of seeking alternative societies, the conference will bring together a diversity of social actors to share a deeper understanding of the degrowth paradigm, and build networks and relationships over six days. It will also include a convivial degrowth fair, with exhibits, art/video/cultural events, opportunities for international participants to exchange beyond that possible in most formal academic conferences. Tours and interaction with Montreal, Quebec and regional social movements and local, alternative food, housing and cooperative experiences are planned. Every effort is being made to reduce the ecological footprint of the event and to maximize its benefits in relation to the ecological and carbon impacts of traditional travel and research activities. Trilingual translation will be available for larger sessions and a cadre of volunteer personal translators for French, Spanish and English speakers is being recruited.
We look forward to your participation.
Yves-Marie Abraham, HEC, Université de Montréal
Julie Anne Ames, McGill University
Peter G Brown, McGill University
Chantal Forgues, David O'Brien Centre for Sustainable Enterprise, Concordia University
Nicolas Kosoy, McGill University
Olga Navarro-Flores, UQAM
Hervé Phillipe, Université de Montréal
François Schneider, Research & Degrowth, Autonomous University of Barcelona
Shannon Scott, McGill School of Environment, McGill University
Paul Shrivastava, David O'Brien Centre for Sustainable Enterprise, Concordia University
Bob Thomson, Ottawa
Last updated: 19/07/11