Sharing Love and Light at Christmas

What is ‘de-growth’?

By A SPIRITED SOUL By Jeannie E. Javelosa (The Philippine Star)

We are in the dark tunnel — that birth space of global limbo and confusion we all find ourselves in. Many have questioned, and are fearful of the radical shifts our world is going through now. And I agree, it is humanity going through its own dark night of the soul: where the purgation of all that is dark, evil, crass and animal in man is brought to the light.

Well, we want to change and move to a higher level, and in so doing, need to take in and face everything unpleasant and fearful about the deep transformation changes happening now. And yes, know with deep faith that another world is possible and necessary.

There is an alternative matrix or even framework that is slowly being born through this dark tunnel…spurts of new thoughts, which are actually revolutionary new movements that point to a new direction that can help us bring forth a better, more humane world. Let me share one direction that I have picked up this year. It is the concept of de-growth, a buzzword during the 30th anniversary of the International Slow Food Movement in Turin, Italy, which I attended this year. There were talks and fora that tackled the control of the profit-maximization of the food system versus basic human rights of the individual’s power of consumer choices; land conflicts of indigenous peoples, issues of migration supply and value chains and the need to bring back the heart, growing our own food to bring back our intimacy and connection to the earth.  In that trip, what we plugged deeper into was a global movement — awakened, relevant and vitally alive.

De-growth was a motto or slogan that went up against the 1972 Stockholm convention that penned “the global sustainable development.” The root of the discussion lies in the fact that the world has, since then, seen that development is anything BUT sustainable. Globalization has destroyed cultures and diversity. This growth model machine continues making us slaves of this world. The rich and powerful have controlled and manipulated the lives and consciousness of the many. In the food chain, large multinationals have eaten up small farmer seeds, and slowly and systematically continue to destroy the rich diversity of crops, grains and seeds, not to mention land grabbing and destroy small farmers’ and producers’ lives. In the financial sector, large economic institutions that control the flow of financial capital continue to make the rich much richer and the poor, even through all the aid, still poorer. In the medical field, large pharmaceuticals keep diseases alive, creating new viruses to expanding their market share.

De-growth stands against an unsustainable world where everything is about consumption, big multinationals in full control, a homogenous global culture and the creation of more needs and wants that are purely material. Mass media pushes the market economy propaganda towards experiences of narcissism and speed that are not life giving. The drive is the accumulation of wealth as a form of protection and stems from an individualistic paradigm. The result is a “sustainable development” that defines production for the material and fueled by the idolatry for the economics market.  It strikes now at the very core of our humanity and earth: sick and unhealthy people, war, inequality that feeds poverty and the pollution of the very air we breathe and the water we drink. It is as though economics and our present-day mainstream consciousness now serve death and not life.     

De-growth is a matrix that looks to wellness, health and well-being, the earth’s capacity for production, the diversity of people’s unique contribution either in the food and other supply chains, traditions and practices. It may be a step back from the market-oriented culture and looks to the idea of collaborations, cooperation and shared values. It is new ways of thinking, transforming mindsets. When you change paradigms it means you change everything. It is not about fixing things, but breaking the old that doesn’t work anymore. Like a circle that needs to be broken.  Relationships that need to drastically change. How we eat, what we eat. What we produce, buy. Who we buy from. How we buy. Who we reach out to do business and trade with. De-growth is like moving towards the little people, the small producers, the micro-entrepreneurs, the indigenous peoples, as we change the structures and begin to return to a sense of community. 

L Petrelli, the founder of movement Slow Food, recently announced a change of direction — that the Slow Food community should move beyond convivia and instead should be building communities. I love his direction because it reflects and represents a whole new way of looking at advocacies and the way we want to live our lives. From structured organized groups that are held together by geography, rules and guidelines...we move to communities, which naturally come together, brought together by shared values. The call is that each country must now invent its own alternatives to preserve and support its own biodiversity. 

Locally, we recently held Tierra Madre farm day to celebrate with everyone else doing it around the world. Chefs, farmers, retailers and producers brought food together in an organic farm in Tagaytay, where they meditated, moved with energy of the earth, listened to music and basically enjoyed being with each other under a shared advocacy.

Slow Food is one manifesting movement to bring our hearts closer and aligned to Mother Earth. It is just one part of a revolution out to break and rupture an entrenched system, and a deep transformation to return to a sense of self. De-growth is a conscious choice of stepping back from the material. It means to lift the veils of illusions that break the energetic controls of the materialistic world inside each and everyone of us: a return to a sense of self, our spiritual self. Put simply, we are at a tipping point — let us wake up, open our minds, choose to bring back the spiritual, communal, cultural, ethical and loving values that are inherent in our humanity.




Click here to see your activities