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Scientific paper


Practical approach towards degrowth transition : a case study of an emerging ecovillage in Kalmar, Sweden

Sarah Costa

Entry type:
Scientific paper

Year of publication:

Lund University


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To the content

organic Farm, Kalmar, sustainability science, grassroots initiative, degrowth, ecovillage

Abstract: Degrowth refers to an alternative human society which is simplistic, cooperative and opposite of current growth system which is based on overproduction and overconsumption. The current growth trend is indisputably unsustainable for the future being of the earth and its’ population. Resource depletion, land degradation and climate change have become inevitable due to growth system, overproduction and overconsumption. The alternative culture is needed to break the unsustainable practices and to stop the irreversible effects on human and natural environment. Degrowth concept rejects the culture of overconsumption and overproduction as well as proposes sustained trajectory towards a simplistic, convivial society. Degrowth proposes a future human society which aims to conserve natural resources and maintain social integrity. On the other hand, ecovillage movement promotes living in sufficiently and sustainably rather than living in plenty and focuses on bringing long-term sustainable solutions in all aspects of human and ecological environment from grassroots level. Therefore, the purpose of the research is to explore the prospects of ecovillage movement as grassroots initiative towards degrowth transition of simplistic society that do not aim consumption and materialization. A case study combined with semi-structured interviews and direct observation at an emerging ecovillage in Kalmar County, Sweden was conducted. Collected data were structured and discussed based on four dimensions of sustainability: ecological, economic, social and spiritual. The findings of the research shows that the ecovillages’ motivations are well reciprocated with degrowth vision to create a simplistic society and can contribute significantly in the well-being of human and natural environment in four critical aspects. Moreover, ecovillage’s motivations in all four dimensions are needed to be integrated with the key features of grassroots initiative to fulfill degrowth transition. In an emerging ecovillage, numbers of interconnected and complex challenges arise during the process of establishment stage to fulfill ecovillage principles and degrowth transition simultaneously. An emerging ecovillage has to be concerned about their limitations and capabilities because over-expectation to bring instant social change can exploit unity and amenity among members and hinder the growth further. This study contributes to sustainability science by critically questioning un-sustainable practices of economic growth and focusing on grassroots initiative as a problem-solving approach.

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