Slowly Does it

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Issue 317
November/December 2019
Where Do We Grow From Here?

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Slowly Does it
by

issue cover 317

Cover: Repair by Baracco+Wright Architects with Linda Tegg. Photograph: Roy Gardiner

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Taking a look at degrowth and what life could be like in this alternative economic system.

Growth. In most contexts it is a beautiful thing. Who reading this magazine would not wonder at seeing a green shoot bursting from an acorn? But unlike humans, trees know the limits of growth. In his celebrated book The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben describes how mother trees overshadow their offspring on the forest floor, cutting out all but 3% of the light. The slow growth resulting from this light deprivation gives the young trees a tougher and more flexible trunk, making them more resistant to storms and fungal attacks.

So, how slowly should we grow?

In this issue of Resurgence & Ecologist we take a deeper look at one alternative to the current economic system: degrowth. We unpick the theory and consider what living ‘a degrowth life’ would really be like. Along the way we discuss the Green New Deal and find forget-me-nots and a donkey.

Detoxing ourselves from our current economic system requires an effort of imagination. In Keynotes, Rob Hopkins, co-founder of Transition Network, explores this theme and discusses why we all need to imagine a world where everything turns out OK. We can only hope that as policymakers convene in Madrid* in December this year for the 25th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP25), the positive power of imagination will also shine through.

Also in the magazine, Mitch Anderson brings us some much-needed good news from the Amazon, and Sasha Dovzhyk reflects on the living legacy of Chernobyl. In Arts, Sarah Corbett shares some craftivism tips for the festive season, and we hear from internationally acclaimed artist Olafur Eliasson on art and hope in an age of crisis.

Winter in the northern hemisphere is not a time typically associated with growth. So, as darkness begins to linger and this year’s leaves become another layer of soil beneath our feet, perhaps we should take a pause for thought. Instead of living to be bigger, faster, taller, we could start saving our energy for the sake of future generations.

* As announced by the UNFCCC Secretariat on 1 November 2019, the COP Bureau agreed that COP 25 will take place from 2-13 December, in Madrid, Spain. The original hosting agreement for COP 25 with Chile was cancelled on 30 October 2019.

Marianne Brown, Editor of Resurgence & Ecologist

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