Narratives of Change
Storytelling is often considered a critical aspect of human cultures. We communicate information, ideas, hopes, worldview, and warnings to each other through story in all sorts of parts of our lives. We encounter storytelling, or narratives, of change regularly when we read science fiction or speculative fiction, when we hear about prophecies, or when we try to discuss the world we imagine could be… The narratives of change that are part of addressing the global ecological crises are no different- they offer potential pathways towards transformation through narrative world building, and have embedded in them theories of change, worldview, assumptions, and beliefs, which both constrain and define what is considered possible and desirable.
In this session, Shaun will talk about some of the narratives of change that are being discussed in relation to the global ecological crisis and what worldview or assumptions some of these narratives are based on, so that we might better assess our own desires and beliefs about what change we are working towards. This will include ideas about utopias, dystopias, eco-modernism, eco-fascism, the ‘good’ anthropocene, the Ecozoic, degrowth, Buen Vivir, and the pluriverse.
Then Meg and Sam will spend some time introducing us to Degrowth. Degrowth is an idea that criticizes any system that pursues economic growth first and foremost. It is also a movement where critical ideas converge with political action, a practice that reduces resource use while encouraging relationship, reciprocity and equity, and a growing body of scholarship that engages, allies with and challenges different narratives of change.
But degrowth isn’t just a policy package. Nor is it only about reducing our footprints or anticapitalism, Degrowth is about collectively reimagining what it means to live well now and into the future. It’s about exploring and giving legitimacy to radically different ways of organizing our economy and our society. It’s about prioritizing relationships in ways that recognize our interconnectedness and encourage conviviality, solidarity and care for each other and the planet we reside on.
Meg is excited to join the Long Talks conversation on Narratives of change, and will be speaking alongside her pal, colleague and comrade, Sam, about what is and isn’t degrowth, degrowth in practice, and how degrowth thinking can inform the imagination of desirable futures.
Here are some links to information on various narratives of change mentioned in the session:
The Good Anthropocene and also here
A BUNCH OF DEGROWTH LINKS
And a blog post by Sam Bliss regarding Degrowth and Ecomodernism in conversation and conflict
June 5, 2021
watch the video
Meg is a degrowth organizer from Edmonton, AB, now residing in Burlington, Vermont. She has a penchant for unions, collective living, and making anti-capitalist folk-pop. Her current PhD. research explores narratives of energy transitions and desirable futures in resource-dependent communities in Canada and the United States, and the roles of the State, corporations, and workers in shaping them.
Sam's Ph.D. research, community organizing, and entire social life center on non-market foodways in Vermont. He is a member of the scholar-activist collectives DegrowBTV, DegrowUS, and Research & Degrowth. Sam sings and writes some songs in a band called Marxist Jargon.
Shaun Sellers is a PhD candidate in the Leadership for the Ecozoic program (L4E) at McGill University, She has a MSc in Ecological Economics from the University of Leeds, and a BA (Hons) in Business Management from Antioch University. Her doctoral research is in social ecological trade theory. She likes books, her dog, and being in the woods.