Andrew Ahern

Andrew Ahern



We are told over and over that degrowth is a non-starter and will alienate everyday people from ecological action. Of course, these same people never provide evidence, just their opinion. So what does the evidence say? I think Citizens' Assemblies provide the answer. A 🧵

Let's begin with France's Citizen Assembly 🇫🇷. Comprised of a 150 citizens at random, the French body worked for 8 sessions hearing from experts about the ecological crisis. After that time they produced a 460 page document with 149 policy proposals.

It included ideas such as: -Adopt a law that makes ecocide a crime -Prohibit Planned Obsolesce -Stop constructing new airports -Prohibit advertisements for carbon intensive items -Encourage people to consume less -Limit overpackaging & single-use plastics -Stop suburban sprawl

-Significantly limit energy consumption in public, private and industrial areas -Prioritize other modes of transport than the private car -Mandatory recycling for all plastic products. -Make landlords renovate all buildings by 2040 -Integrate agroecology

And so on. For anyone familiar with the degrowth policy framework, there is a lot of overlap. As @_SecondThought put it in his video on the subject, "people were willing to compromise some production for continued survivability."

Moving on, we have Spain 🇪🇸. After declaring an Emergency Declaration which included a commitment to convene a citizens' assembly, Spain recruited 100 random citizens to reflect their population. Like France, the policies were radical.

Of the 172 recommendations: -No joke: "raising the awareness of degrowth." -Minimize domestic flights -Regulate & ban advertising -Promote Mediterranean diets -Make ecocide a crime -Reduce the working week -Reduce extractivism -Limit the number of golf courses & so on & so on.

Another assembly: The UK🇬🇧 -Frequent Flyer Tax -Reducing meat & dairy by 20-40% -Increase product share & repair availability -Advertising bans -Renewable energy>CCS, nuclear -Support for production to use less energy & materials -Ban gas boilers by 2030

There have been several other Citizen Climate Assemblies on local, state, and national levels. While there is a diversity of recommendations across the over 25 assemblies, people are consistency willing to approve policy that challenges growth & profits.

So what does this tell us? 1. The public is willing to enact more radical ecological policy than the Left or Right are willing to give them credit for. What we need is more democracy. Polls & studies support this.

Ofc, we did not need Assemblies to tell us this. In this study, the authors concluded that participants were more willing to use a sustainable level of resources today for future generations when more democracy was implemented.

2. Degrowth is doing it's job: challenge the growth & profit imperative, holistic ECO policy, & help us question our values, culture, and economies. Whether assemblies use the term "degrowth" does not matter. The ideas and practices are spreading.

While this is certainly good news, we still need to build power to make these ideas a reality. After all, many of these assemblies provide recommendations, not binding policy, where elected & non-elected official can decide whether or not to enact them.

Nonetheless, THIS is exciting. THIS provides me hope. To rephrase Social Ecology's famous maxim: "the ecological crisis is a democracy crisis"

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