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De-Growth Vancouver conference to unravel 'pathological' culture

This weekend, hundreds of folks are expected to file into Vancouver's Harbour Centre for a conference committed to exploring the idea of economic de-growth, and the possibilities for transformation through undoing the economy as we know it.

The annual celebration of de-growth will include a who's who of environmental activism in Vancouver, as well as some unexpected speakers, like North Vancouver Mayor Richard Walton and Derrick Jensen, an anti-civilization writer based in Crescent City, California.

"I think it's really important because I think we need to deconstruct that mythology of growth, and the logic of cancer," said Jensen of Vancouver's second De-Growth Conference. "Anything that challenges that I think is a good thing."

Jensen's work has attracted attention around the world, and he's no stranger to controversy. Though he's often pegged as a radical on the fringes of the environmental movement, he thinks there's a growing acceptance that big changes need to take place.

"How radical is it really to say that this culture is not sustainable?" he said with a laugh. "There's more and more people who are understanding the absolutely dire situation we're in and who are increasingly recognizing that the whole system is pathological," Jensen told The Tyee. Jensen will be participating in the de-growth event via video conference call.

Back in Vancouver, organizers are making the final preparations before the event opens on Friday. "Last year we had 300 people" said Geri Tramutola, one of the event organizers. This year, the Saturday schedule is to take place before a Canucks game, but organizers are still hoping to pack the venue to capacity.

"The whole point is to develop plans of action," Tramutola told The Tyee. "We are going to have breakout sessions, we realized that people want the opportunity to connect with each other and talk about what they've heard."

For more information on the conference, visit

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