What is ecomodernism? Perspectives from ecomodernism and degrowth on limits to growth, lifestyles and media narratives

Ecomodernism is an environmental movement that emphasises the role of technology in enabling material prosperity while also protecting ecosystems. It stands in contrast to the degrowth movement, which challenges the current economic paradigm, and emphasises the need to reduce global consumption and production in ways that tackle inequality and foster environmental sustainability. The two philosophies paint different visions for the future of humanity and the planet.

At this online TABLE event, research and communications officer Helen Breewood will summarise the upcoming TABLE explainer What is ecomodernism? This presentation will be followed by a discussion between our guest speakers Linus Blomqvist and Sam Bliss, chaired by TABLE director Tara Garnett, in which we will hear both ecomodernist and degrowth perspectives on the following issues:

– What is ecomodernism? How is the concept represented and misrepresented? – Is the idea of planetary boundaries valid? Do we need to change our lifestyles to avoid irreversible environmental damage? What is the role of technology in decreasing our impacts? – What are the most important components of a good life – material wellbeing, community ties, meaningful work? How do ecomodernism and degrowth differ in their views here? – To what extent does ecomodernism conflict or align with mainstream narratives from the media, politicians and industry?

Event attendees will have the chance to submit questions throughout the event, and the discussion will be followed by an audience question-and-answer session.

Guest speakers:

Linus Blomqvist is a PhD candidate in Environmental Economics and Science at University of California, Santa Barbara and former director of the Conservation and Food & Agriculture programmes at the Breakthrough Institute, where he is also a Senior Fellow. Linus is a co-author of the Ecomodernist Manifesto. He is interested in how technology can help decouple environmental impacts from economic growth, and is working on strategies to meet food demand while protecting biodiversity.

Sam Bliss is a Gund Graduate Fellow at the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, The University of Vermont, where he studies how communities and societies can practice collective self-limitation according to the world they want to inhabit now and in the future. He is working on a book about why technology alone will not solve the environmental crisis. He has interests in degrowth, agroecology and non-market systems for producing and distributing food.