Imagining Europe Beyond Growth

By European Environmental Bureau

This special issue shares ideas for a just society and a stable planet in preparation for the 2023 conference on how to move “beyond growth”. It is co-published by the European Environmental Bureau, Oikos and Green European Journal.

We believe this conference presents a unique opportunity for society, especially the EU decision-makers, to disengage from an ecologically and socially damaging race for growth and embark on a new path.

As academics, policymakers, and civil society members argue in this issue, Europe should adopt a post-growth future as a foundation for its new peace project. The seeds of change are already out there.

To progress to a post-growth society, countries overshooting their ecological resources must downscale production and consumption democratically and fairly, sometimes referred to as “degrowth”. 

Growth has long been society’s answer to economic equality and the social question, an alibi that has long ceased to hold in an era of inequality and ecological crisis. In a post-growth economy, the current focus on quantitative growth would be replaced by the aim of thriving in a regenerative and distributive economy, one that delivers qualitative wellbeing by meeting the needs of all people within the means of the living planet, as elaborated by Kate Raworth in the concept of “doughnut economics”.

The transformation towards a post-growth society for the European Union calls for a different future-oriented narrative. We’ll need the political imagination to design a European Green Deal without growth and instead based on biocapacity, fairness, wellbeing for all, and active democracy.

In this issue, you will find inspiring ideas, examples and discussions of the many faces of a positive post-growth future, one in which people and nature can thrive together.

Read the full report here

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