Introducing the Spiral Economy

By John Mulrow

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When we kick-off the DegrowUS gathering in Chicago this Friday, we will do so at The Plant, a former meatpacking plant that now houses a community of small food businesses including indoor and outdoor farms and a beer brewery. Many of these businesses exchange waste products or resources with each other, modeling a small-scale circular economy. So our first workshop of the weekend will be focused on merging Degrowth and the Circular Economy — two umbrella concepts that have become popular frames for charting true sustainability.

What would the combination of the two — a Spiral Economy — look like? That’s the question we’ll aim to answer on Friday. …


Thinking smaller in a country where everything is big

Originally published by Uneven Earth on November 25, 2016

Sam Bliss

Things are big in the United States of America. Returning home after a year away reacquaints me with big detached single-family homes, big single-occupant vehicles, and big single-species grass lawns. I find wider roads, longer distances, larger supermarkets, and more stuff everywhere.

As a student of ecological economics, it makes me a little anxious. Such individualistic extravagance isn’t ecological or economical. I remind myself: it is precisely why I came back.

I spent most of the past year in Barcelona, studying with a group of researchers who are interested in degrowth — the idea that humans and other species might live better if the former had a smaller economy. Degrowth is not recession. It is a purposeful, equitable slowing of the rate at which we transform nature into stuff. …

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