Decentering Sustainability: Towards Local Solutions for Global Environmental Problems

Humanity shares one planet, but we do not live in "one world." We live and make meaning in many localized geographical spaces, societies, and ecologies. At the Nineteenth International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic & Social Sustainability we want to address this complex and paradoxical relationship between the local and global. We seek to decenter the concept of “sustainability” and problematize hegemonic solutions. The aim is to open a conversational space for considering alternative, vernacular, traditional, neglected and indigenous knowledges and practices, while critically reflecting on the ways in which they are already integrated into "one world" solutions. We will also consider “extractivism” as a “glocal” problem including its material and non-material aspects. In addition, within this paradox of the local and global, we’ll consider the social and environmental underpinnings and implications of digitalization.

The Nineteenth International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic & Social Sustainability commits to consider from both theoretical and practical perspectives the multiple ways that unsustainable political and economic systems strive for (their) sustainability. In 2002, Paul Crutzen wrote that "unless there is a global catastrophe - a meteorite impact, a world war or a pandemic - mankind will remain a major environmental force for many millennia".[1] However, global social, economic, and political systems are generating economic, health, social, environmental, and other crises. And contemporary globalization continues to be based on a neoliberal ideology that promotes endless economic growth, extractivism and consumerism that “sustains” “unsustainable” systems.

This conference is the result of an international collaboration between Common Ground Research Networks, the On Sustainability Research Network and the University of Ljubljana. It seeks paper proposals and contributions from scholars, environmental organizations and activists, policy makers, educators, NGOs, private companies, and others working on sustainability issues. We call for proposals from scholars from all disciplines committed to exploring ongoing and emerging practices, ideas, and solutions.

Theme 1: Multiple Legacies: Heritage, Traditions, Local Ecologies, Knowledge, Values, Protection

Theme 2: Extractions: Food, Water, Energy, Resources, Materials, Reuse, Distribution, Accessibility, Non-Material Extraction

Theme 3: Digital Sustainability: Sustainable Digitalization, Smart Communities, Smart Mobility, Green Technologies, Electronic Waste

Theme 4: Sustaining Crisis: (de)growth, Alternative Economies, Greenwashing, Social and Political Movements