Nathan Barlow, Livia Regen, Noémie Cadiou, Ekaterina Chertkovskaya, Max Hollweg, Christina Plank, Merle Schulken and Verena Wolf (eds.)
Degrowth is a counter-hegemonic movement that has the ambitious aim of transforming society towards social and ecological justice. But how do we get there? That is the question this book addresses. Adhering to the multiplicity of degrowth whilst also arguing that strategic prioritisation and coordination are key, Degrowth & Strategy advances the debate on strategy for social-ecological transformation. It explores what strategising means, identifies key directions for the degrowth movement, and scrutinises strategies in practice that aim to realise a degrowth society. Bringing together voices from degrowth and related movements, this book creates a polyphony for change going beyond the sum of its parts.
Chapter 15: Mobility and transport
An overview of strategies for social-ecological transformation in the field of transportation
By John Szabo, Thomas SJ Smith and Leon Leuser
pp. 289 – 309.
A destructive and wasteful transportation model has developed across the Global North and further afield over the last 150 years, emerging hand-in-hand with a society reliant on fossil fuels.
The proliferation of privately owned, combustion engine-propelled passenger vehicles, for instance, drives a highly individualised, resource-, time-, and space-intensive system, as well as one that perpetuates an unjust and growth-oriented capitalist society. Distances travelled, whether by land, sea or by air, have been on the rise, and the means to facilitate this have rapidly expanded (see e.g., USA. FHA 2018). Today, nearly a quarter of global CO2 emissions originates from the transportation sector (Solaymani 2019). In the face of climate change, it has therefore never been more urgent to take action to reconfigure the mobility system. The COVID-19 pandemic offers yet another fork in the road. It can provide a structural opening for change, since it has forced many to travel less at a point in time when the technology capable of substituting travel is available to many. It also further exacerbates inequalities. In this chapter, we provide a humble point of departure for further action that drives social-ecological change by harnessing degrowth strategies. Current transportation systems need to be radically transformed, prioritising social justice and ecological soundness, and thus decoupled from various forms of exploitation. We explore strategies that can be adopted to support such a transformation. Like other authors in this book, we draw on Erik Olin Wright’s four strategic logics (2019), which offer valuable insights on how societies
can move towards “Real Utopias” (2010). We highlight that strategies are variegated, as are the movements and organisations that employ them.