Table of content

1. What it’s like to be a Cargonomia trainee?

2. Rethinking the role of the engineer within a degrowth society

3. Exploring: approaches of sustainable initiatives and degrowth in Hungary

4. Green guide for international students in Budapest

5. Degrowth, sobriety, conviviality. Discovering peasant agriculture. Photos and comments.

6. Low-Tech engineering – What engineering for a society consistent with social and planetary boundaries?

1. What it’s like to be a Cargonomia trainee?

Antoine, a trainee at Cargonomia during the second half of 2022, took advantage of his time with us to make a short video, entitled “What it’s like to be a Cargonomia trainee?” His idea? To present the daily life of a trainee at Cargonomia: activities useful to society and the environment and exciting exchanges, all in a friendly atmosphere!

We won’t tell you any more, just watch the video yourself!

 

2. Rethinking the role of the engineer in a degrowth society

This document is the translation of a report of a research driven in 2019 to rethink engineering from a Degrowth perspective made by Francois Gaillard and Paul-Henri François and coordinated by Vincent Liegey in cooperation with Ecole Centrale de Nantes.
See more here in French about this project here.

 

3. Exploring: approaches of sustainable initiatives and degrowth in Hungary

Sziasztok,

We are Enora, Tom and Perrine, three French students from the Institute of Political Studies of Rennes, and trainees at Cargonomia since September 2021..

As young people, we will be, and already are, facing ecological issues. However, we find ourselves in a feeling of powerlessness in front of the ecological crisis. Then, by studying political studies, we are carrying our reflection of the subject through the analysis of economic, political and social models. We are questioning the models and paradigms that have brought us here and are also looking for solutions and ways to rethink our society.

In this process, joining Cargonomia was a way to discover a new concept, and a controversial alternative to sustainable development : degrowth. It was also a way to get involved in the protection of the environment in our everyday life (participation in the life of an organic farm, repairing bicycles..). We are attached to this dual theoretical and practical approach of ecology.

Because degrowth is a radical and a global alternative to the current system, we wanted to question it. That’s why, as part of our internship, we decided to interview ecological committed people and organisations  in order to write articles about them and their ways of thinking in the particular context of Hungary. The idea would be to give a voice to those who know about degrowth, put it into practice, but also to those who engage in ways that degrowth is likely to support.


We have identified seven main themes related to the concrete application of degrowth : Awareness and Communities, Economics, Ecofeminism, Energy, Housing and Urbanism, Politics and Democracy and Social and Civil Movements. These interviews would then be means to synthesise our reflections, answer our questions, or not, open the debate on certain issues…

Our aim is to discover sustainable actions which could be part of a degrowth society in the 21st century, so let’s discover the potential of degrowth and theories of transition in practice.

Social Movements and Degrowth :

Here is the latest edition of our series of interviews EXPLOR2ING : Approaches of sustainable initiatives and degrowth in Hungary“.

In this final article, we learn about social movements and degrowth in Hungary, but also in Central and Eastern Europe.

What is a social movement?  What are the conditions of political openness for social movements? What are the specificities of the past and current movements in post-socialist countries? Could degrowth be implemented through a social movement in Hungary?…

To answer these questions, we disucssed with Agnes Gagyi, sociologist, specialist of social movements and co-coordinator of the Solidarity Economy Center of Budapest.

Social Movements – Agnes Gagyi

Politics and Degrowth :

Since we have shown that degrowth proposes to set up a new model of society linked to questions of education, urbanism, economy… we have to focus now on political side.

What is the role of politician in these changes? To what extent they can act for it? What is the most judicious political model to implement degrowth? Is an increased citizen’s participation through a new political system possible? …

To approach these issues, we discussed about scales of action, place of science in the political debate and many other topics with Rebeka Szabo, deputy mayor of the XIV district of Budapest and co-founder of the green party Párbeszéd Magyarországért (Dialogue for Hungary).

Politics – Rebeka Szabo

Awareness, Communities and Degrowth :

In our previous interviews, one topic that kept coming up was education and raising awareness. Acting in favor of a degrowth society, or at least a sustainable one, requires being aware of these issues. Indeed, from citizens to decision-makers, there is a need to raise awareness.

But the real question is : how to do it? Which actors and organisations are able to address these issues? Which tools can be used to engage with citizens and act for the environment? 

For this fifth edition, we interview Edina Vadovics, co-founder and member of GreenDependent, a non-profit research and action organisation in the town of Gödöllő. We learn about local and community-based projects to implement sustainable long-term lifestyles.

Awareness-Communities – Edina-Vadovics

Housing, Urbanism and Degrowth :

Thinking of a degrowth society in a world becoming massively urbanised invites us to analyse the future forms of housing and urban planning.

What are the solutions that will allow us to live together in a sustainable city respecting planetary boundaries? What are the existing sustainable urban initiatives and committed actors in Hungary?

In this fourth edition we talk about urban planning, housing issues, commons and co-governance. We also discuss the notions of “Cooperative Cities” and “Civic Ecosystem”.

Thus, our new interviewee is Levente Polyak, urbanist at the KEK- Hungary Contemporary Architecture Center and member of Eutropian.

Housing-Urbanism – Levente Polyák

Ecofeminism and Degrowth :

If degrowth appears to be a radical alternative to our current societal model, ecofeminism also invites us to rethink relationships of domination between men, women and nature. In this third edition we wanted to question the articulation between these two critical projects which seem to overlap on many points.

But which ecofeminism(s) are we talking about? How can we imagine new connections with nature ? What are the concrete approaches to move towards a new society ?…

This week in “Exploring : Approaches of sustainable initiatives and degrowth in Hungary ”, we meet Anna Margit an ecofeminist, gardener and creator of a shared garden and a community space in Budapest.

Ecofeminism – Anna-Margit

Economics and Degrowth :

When we started to think about this interviews project, it seemed obvious that economics was a main topic.

Indeed, in essence, Degrowth aims to question mainstream economics and the imaginary of growth. However, are there concrete alternatives ? Which economic tools could be useful to reach a sustainable society ?… And so many others issues about ecological economics we wanted to interrogate.

Then, to approach these huge topics, we met Alexandra Köves an ecological economist and creator of two podcasts : “Economics for Rebels” and “Zöld Egyenlőség”.

Economics – Alexandra Köves

Energy and Degrowth :

Here we are, with our first interview of our series of articles “Exploring : Approaches of sustainable initiatives and degrowth in Hungary” and not with the easiest topic.

Indeed, energy is one of the core issues when we talk about sustainable transition. Although degrowth is calling for the reduction of energy consumption and production, we can question the means to achieve it and their feasibility.

That is why we decided to interview Mr. Béla Munkácsy, geography professor at the ELTE University (Eötvös Loránd University) in Budapest and member of EnergiaKlub.

Energy – Béla Munkácsy

 

4. Green guide for international students in Budapest

[Download the guide]

Being a trainee at Cargonomia from October 2023 to January 2024, I experienced arriving in Budapest as a new city and getting used to living there for a few months. Finding your feet in another country is not easy and I rapidly realized that transposing my habits would require effort, especially to keep up with a green lifestyle while not knowing about the local alternatives. After weeks living in Budapest, I therefore decided to create a guide in order to share the places I now go to. In the Green Guide, you’ll find a list of addresses and tips about daily life in Budapest. It’s not exhaustive but made to help newcomers to have the basics and don’t let down their sustainable deeds. Anybody can read the guide, both before their arrival and while staying in Budapest. Then have your experiences and feel free to share with us your green recommendations!

Amalys

 

5. Degrowth, sobriety, conviviality. Discovering peasant agriculture. Photos and comments.

By Paco Barra, Cargonomia Team 2023

Click to download.

This photographic essay is a sharing of experience, a small window on the world of peasant agriculture. It tells the story of my discovery of agroecology, my motivations for doing an engineering internship in the middle of the Hungarian countryside and my fears about the state of the living world. The photos were taken on the Zsámboki Biokert farm, a small haven of peace for exiled earthworms where the soil is cultivated with love and reason. The comments are the fruit of reading and passionate discussions with local farmers. A testimonial to anyone who wants to read it, to the curious who want healthy, tasty food that doesn’t kill.

6. Low-Tech engineering – What engineering for a society consistent with social and planetary boundaries?

[Download internship report]

In 2019, 69% of international scientists were critical about a societal model based on economic growth (Drews et al., 2019). In Europe, in 2023, 86% of climate policy researchers support a transition towards a post-growth societal model (King et al., 2023). Intrigued by this observation, I questioned myself about the foundations of a societal model compatible with humanity’s accessibility to well-being in the long term.

As the features of a viable model took shape, I wondered about the place of engineering in the transition of human societies towards such a model. Here too, the features of a new technical system, supported by adjustments in engineering paradigms, have emerged. Eager to ensure that the advanced technical skills that I develop contribute to the well-being of citizens, I sought, through this internship, to experiment new engineering practices.