About the Post Growth Institute
(extracted from the Post Growth Institute’s website)
Post Growth is a catalyst for identifying, inspiring and implementing new approaches to global well-being.
We are an international network of people committed to tackling the cause, rather than the symptoms, of a myriad of social and environmental problems to create a positive world future that does not depend on economic growth.
Our aim is to create a movement of 10 million people who are convinced of the need for futures beyond economic growth, believe they are possible and feel inspired and supported enough to play a role in their emergence.
Post Growth members work to create thought-provoking and reasoned information and initiatives, opportunities for meaningful action and connect like-minded individuals and groups working towards post growth futures.
Currently Post Growth is a virtual community, with collaborators spread across many countries and our core team hailing from Australia, the United States, Canada, Greece and (occasionally) Sweden. We come from a wide range of backgrounds each committed to making a better world for everyone.
We commit to the emergence of ‘post-growth’ world futures, guided by the following principles:
Prosperity Without Growth:
- Recognition that there are natural limits to economic, population and consumption growth and points at which further growth produces, overall, negative outcomes.
- Acceptance that, globally, we have long surpassed the natural limits of the planet to allow us to sustain further increases to material consumption.
- Commitment to restoring, protecting, and prioritizing a healthy ecosystem in order to sustain wellbeing for humans and other species, without requiring further economic growth to do so.
Social and Global Justice:
- Acknowledgement that current models of economic growth have systemically benefited certain populations and species over others and that greater social and environmental justice is required for sustainable futures.
- Awareness that, because of current inequitable conditions, extra efforts may be required to ensure equal access to participation by all, particularly in relation to the most politically charged global issues in which power dynamics have routinely excluded consideration of certain perspectives.
- Advocacy for non-hierarchical organizational systems that invite everyone to contribute in whatever ways they can, valuing the potential of such contributions.
- Support for equitable social and economic systems by which people do not feel forced to leave their homes for the sake of safety, health or opportunity.
- Acknowledgement that the planet comprises our collective heritage (commons) and that all notions of private possession are human constructions, not laws of nature.
- Belief that post-growth thinking must go beyond polarized debates about existing systems and allow for entirely new ideas and frameworks to form, often drawing inspiration from models other than those that have led to our current challenges while also recognizing that there are some things currently do work for both people and the planet.
- Support for positive forms of growth, such as the (re)generation of local economies, the natural environment, spirituality, well-being, community and respect.
- Acknowledgement that positive outcomes are not always measurable through currently established means.
Diversity, Multiplicity, and Cooperation:
- Respect for diversity in all its forms.
- Recognition that for post-growth outcomes to be most effective, they will most often need to be grounded in relevant contexts and driven by local communities, and that communities do not exist in isolation of larger contexts, meaning there is value in global dynamics informing local action.
- Appreciation that creating positive futures requires embracing multiple approaches, rather than seeking ‘one right answer’.
- Recognition that these issues can have deep emotional impacts in people, and that moralising, blaming, or engendering guilt is counter-productive.
Creativity in Action:
- Commitment to placing intentional emphasis on creativity and collaboration as opposed to constant critique, while still valuing the important role of critical engagement – promoting an attitude of ‘critical hope’.
- Valuing multiple voices means we seek consent rather than consensus in our collective work; finding ways of working together amidst differences is important.
- Recognition of the need to be transparent about assumptions, values, perspectives, and goals in order to continuously revisit them based on new learning.
- Recognition of the creative potential of fun and humor!
This list represents Post Growth Institute’s “Starting Positions,” the facts and opinions that are the basis for their organization.
1. All people can live one-planet lifestyles in ways that bring increased peace and prosperity from the personal to the global scale
There are a myriad of inspiring and empowering initiatives occurring worldwide that serve as examples of what our world can look like if we move beyond current trends that focus on personal gain, private profit, materialism and economic growth. By highlighting, connecting and supporting these initiatives we can help accelerate our global transition towards sustainable and resilient prosperity.
2. One-planet lifestyles acknowledge physical limits to economic growth on a planet with finite resources
Economies exist within the physical environment. Their existence relies upon the continued use of natural resources like water, forests and agricultural land. These natural resources are either non-renewable (limited in total amount) or are produced at a rate that is limited by the environment’s ability to regenerate them. The other side of this is nature’s ability to absorb the wastes that we produce. If economies produce waste faster than nature can absorb that waste, we undermine the planet’s ability to sustain human existence.
We are already using natural resources at a rate higher than that at which they are naturally renewed and creating wastes faster than nature can absorb them (known as ecological overshoot). Continued economic growth will only worsen this predicament. One-planet living acknowledges that we can, and must, mould our economies to fit within the limits imposed by our physical environment.
3. One-planet lifestyles acknowledge the pressures a growing human population, with highly inequitable patterns of production and consumption, place on a planet with finite physical resources.
Every human on Earth must consume natural resources to live. If we are to survive and thrive into the future, we must together consume within natural boundaries and produce less waste than nature can absorb. Some of us are consuming far more than our fair share of resources and producing excessive waste, while the total population is growing. We need to address inequalities and find ways to maintain a better balance.
4. One-planet lifestyles also acknowledge that advances in technology do not mean we can keep growing indefinitely
Technology cannot create something from nothing. For example, technology can’t change the fact that there is a limited amount of oil; it can only squeeze a little more use from existing reserves. In a world with more people and higher rates of consumption, increases in technological efficiency can, at best, buy us more time before such gains are cancelled out by further growth.
Globally, improvements in the efficiency of technologies, or even leaps to other substitutes, have not been able to offset overall increases in resource consumption and waste. In fact, these improvements in efficiency have, in many cases, driven more wasteful attitudes and increased overall consumption (see “Jevons Paradox”). Rather than relying on technology alone, we must challenge the obsession with infinite growth on a finite planet.