To enter into degrowth, the first step consists in starting to become
aware of our conditioning. The major vector of this conditioning is television.
Our first choice is to free ourselves from it. As consumer, society reduces
human beings to its economic dimension - consumer – television reduces
the information to its surface, to the image. Media of passivity, then
of submission, it continues leading individuals to regress. By nature,
television requires speed, it cannot stand in-depth speech. Television
is polluting in its production, in its use, then as waste.
We prefer our inner life, creating, learning to play music, making and
watching live shows ... To inform us we have choice: radio (without commercials),
reading (without commercials), theatre, movies (without commercials),
2. Freeing ourselves from the car
More than an object, the automobile is a symbol of consumer society.
Limited to 20% of the richest people on Earth, it leads inexorably to
ecological suicide by depletion of natural resources (needed for its production)
or by its multiple pollution which, among other things, creates the rise
of greenhouse gases. The car causes wars for oil , the most recent one
being Iraq conflict. The car has also resulted in a social war that leads
to one death every hour in France alone. The automobile is one of the
ecological and social calamity of our time.
We prefer: the refusal of hypermobility. The will to live near one's workplace.
Walking, cycling, trains, public transport.
3. Refusing to take the plane
Refusing to take the plane is, first, breaking with the dominant ideology
that considers an inalienable right to use this mode of transport. Yet
less than 10% of human beings have already flown. Less than 1% take it
every year. These 1%, the ruling class, are the rich people from rich
countries. They are the ones who hold the media and set social norms.
The airplane is the most polluting transportation per passenger. Because
of its high speed, it artificialize our relationship to the distance.
We prefer to go less far, but better, on foot, horse trailer, bike or
train, boat sailing, with all non-motorized vehicle.
4. Getting free from mobile phone
The system generates needs which become addictions. What is artificial
becomes natural. Like many objects of consumer society, the phone is a
false need created artificially by advertising. "With mobile phone,
you are available at any moment." With the mobile phone we also throw
away microwave ovens, lawn mowers, and all unnecessary objects of consumer
To the mobile phone we prefer mail, words, but more importantly, we will
try to exist by ourselves instead of trying to fill an existential void
5. boycotting supermarkets
Supermarkets are inextricably linked to the automobile. They dehumanizes
work, they pollute and distort the periphery of cities, they kill the
inner city, they encourage intensive agriculture, they centralize capital,
etc. The list of calamities they represent is too long to be listed here.
We prefer: first of all, eating less, food self-production (vegetables),
local shops, markets, cooperatives, handicrafts. This will also lead us
to consume less or to reject manufactured products.
6. Eating less meat
Or better, eat vegetarian. The living conditions given to livestock shows
the techno-scientifical barbarity of our civilization. The meat diet is
also a serious ecological problem. It is better to eat directly grain
rather than using agricultural land to feed animals destined for slaughter.
Eating vegetarian or eating less meat should also lead to a healthier
food, less rich in calories.
7. Consuming local
When you buy a Caribbean banana, it also implies to consume the oil needed
to transport it to our rich countries. Producing and consuming locally
is one of the major conditions to enter into degrowth, not in a selfish
sense, of course, but rather that each nation regains its ability to be
self-sufficient. For example, when an African farmer cultivates cacao
beans to enrich a few corrupt leaders, it does not cultivates anything
to feed himself and his community (see text in French "Dix objections
majeures au commerce équitable. This text was originally published
on the following web page: http:// ecolo.asso.fr/textes/20020312equi.htm
. It is still currently available on the following page: http://pasteque.agora.eu.org/archives/141
The consumer society gives us the choice between Pepsi-Cola and Coca-Cola
or coffee between Black and "fairtrade" coffee from Max Havelaar.
It leaves us the choice to be consumers. The market is neither right nor
centre, or left; it imposes its financial dictatorship with the objective
to refuse any adversarial and conflict of idea. The reality is the economy:
human beings have to comply with it. This totalitarianism is paradoxically
imposed in the name of freedom to consume. The consumer status is considered
as superior as the human one.
We prefer to politicize, as person, associations, political parties, to
fight enterprises dictatorship. Democracy requires a permanent conquest.
It dies when it is abandoned by its citizens. It is now time to infuse
the ideas of degrowth.
9. Personal Development
The consumer society is needing servile and submissive consumers who
no longer wish to be fully human. They can then hold out that through
moronic attitude, for example, in front of television, with "leisure"
or the use of neuroleptics (Prozac. ..).
Instead, the economic degrowth tend to provide a social and human development.
Enriching oneself by developing one's inner life. Giving the preference
to the quality of the relationship to oneself and to others at the expense
of the desire to possess objects that possess us in their turn. Seeking
to live in peace, in harmony with nature, not giving in to our own violence,
this is the true strength.
Ideas are meant to be lived. If we are not able to put them into practice,
they have no other function than to vibrate our ego. We're all in compromise,
but we try to strive for more coherence. It is the guarantee of the credibility
of our views. Change, and the World will change.
This list is not exhaustive of course. Up to you to complete it. But if
we do not seek to strive for coherence, we will be reduced to very hypocritically
feel sorry about the consequences of our own lifestyle. Obviously, there
is no “pure” way of life on Earth. We're all in the compromise
and that is fine.
This text has been written originally in French and has been translated
by the author of the website (who is French speaking). The translation
quality is therefore not guaranteed : see more details here
. Your help could be appreciated.