Degrowth

  • (this is something I wrote down for myself almost ten years ago, when I came across some “Save the Tiger” campaign. See at the bottom the reason why I resurrected this note and put it online now) May we get rid for good of a huge misunderstanding, please? We don’t need to save forests to preserve tigers. It’s the other way around. Every single species changes or disappears anyway, sooner or later.
  • John Michael Greer makes a really important provocation. He begins explaining a few things about the current world that everybody not living in a hole already knows: Our current industrial society was just a non repeatable huge stroke of luck, made possible by access to an immense supply of cheap, highly concentrated fuel that took million years to produce, and was worth extracting (same theme of Never mind the debt!
  • The 2011 European Open Days (*) covered a lot of very different topics, from local transportation to health, traffic, smart cities and education. Almost all these talks, however, starting from the plenary opening session had the same implicit basis, always given for granted without the smallest amount of doubt: work is the center of life, economic growth is THE social and political framework in which human life happens, job creation is our goal Everybody was talking only about growth, development, jobs and unemployment.
  • The adjective resilient means (among other things) “tending to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change”. That’s an excellent capability to have in though times like these, isn’t it? You may think that resiliency means roughing it like Rambo or the Amish, or that it is a lifestyle that only very rich people who can buy their own ranch can afford. That’s not true. Resilience, especially in the current economical situation, may be both a smarter way to live and a necessity for everybody, especially people with very, very normal lifes and jobs (or lack thereof…).
  • This is my own summary/understanding of a paper about the Insufficiency of Efficiency. I found it interesting because it complements what I recently read about the need for society to adapt as soon as possible to a much smaller EROI (energy return on energy invested). Corrections and feedback are very welcome. In economics, the term efficiency refers to the efficient allocation of resources. The faith in efficiency as the top priority in economics is misplaced.
  • In many parts of Italy there simply is no more room to use cars decently, regardless of their cost or emissions. For this reason, a few days ago I translated into Italian a beautiful post on the Frugal Urban blog about the benefits of car sharing in Ottawa. A few days later, the announcement of those translations on a mailing list prompted Damiano C. to write on that same list about his car sharing experience in Rome.
  • _(this is the translation, with some links updated, of an article I wrote in June 2007 for Rivista Italiana della Decrescita (Italian Degrowth Magazine). Since then, I’ve written and spoken more on the same topic, here and elsewhere._ According to François Schneider (1) “some technologies, by definition, can not be limited or restricted and must therefore be (completely) refused”. The theme of this article is to see if computers and the Internet are indeed limited, if and how they are compatible with degrowth or whether they should instead be abandoned in the interest of degrowth itself.
  • Groupons, that is Group Coupons, are special offers with very high discounts, valid only if a minimum number of buyers accept to buy whatever was the object of the offer. These offers are only made online from portals like Groupon. According to Italian newspaper Repubblica, all offers on groupon portals follow two basic rules: first, the more people declare they want to buy the same thing, the less they pay; second, the more a good or service and its purchasers are geographically closer to each other, the greater the savings.
  • (what follows is an updated synthesis of some comments I made on an Italian mailing list back in 2007). I am publishing them because I feel certain questions still make sense today, and because I am really interested, much more today than back then, to exchange ideas and experiences about this) Fair Trade, at least in forms like “buy these T-Shirts made in India with Organic Cotton, by a company that decided to invest in community and workers rights” leaves me a bit puzzled.
  • (this is the second part of the translation, with some links updated, of an article I wrote in June 2007 on this topic. The first part is here) Are computers limitable? The concept that you should use a tool only if you can “limit” it, that is if you can foresee and limit its potential damage by defining and regulating in advance how it can or should be used, creates more problems.