• Beyond Transitions

BT Event Summer

Even if autumn has arrived with a vengeance, allow us to cast our minds back briefly to the summer which has been very intense, exciting and eventful for Beyond Transitions. We had the great opportunity to take part in several inspiring and stimulating events and conferences.

First stop of our “summer journey” was Berlin, where we attended the “Breaking the rules” conference hosted by the Leibniz Research Alliance on Energy Transitions. During this two-day conference, we presented our ongoing research on reconfiguring energy consumption and production systems across national landscapes through community-based renewable energy prosumerism in the European Union. The conference covered interesting discussions over theoretical conceptualizations of energy and innovations, as well as over a broad variety of practical energy initiatives currently underway across Europe as well as in the Global South.

The second destination was Cardiff, in the UK, where we took part in the annual conference hosted by the Royal Geographic Society attracting around 1.800 researchers from all over the world. While we were also presenting our research we had the great chance to attend inspiring discussions on a range of topics related to energy issues from a geographical perspective. As the conference was held in Cardiff, we further got important insights into RE policy development and updates on the socio-economic impacts of energy transformation processes in the UK. Our personal highlights were the discussions on grid reliability and demand-side flexibility as well as the exploration of gender in energy transitions covering themes from the representation of women in energy cooperatives in Germany as well as energy justice implications of women in rural areas in Turkey.

We further attended the “Energy justice and the capabilities approach” conference in Malmö, Sweden, being the first one of this kind. One of our team members presented her research on systematically reviewing gender aspects in renewable energy research in the Global North in collaboration with the Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies. The focus of this two-day conference was on questions about energy poverty, climate and energy justice, energy justice and sustainability and nuclear energy and justice by applying the theoretical lense of the capability approach.

Last but not least, BT has been present at the de-growth conferences in Malmö, Sweden, and Brussels, Belgium, hosted by members of the European Parliament from different political groups, academics, NGOs and unions. The annual international de-growth conference for ecological sustainability and social equity in Malmö under the motto “dialogue in turbulent times” expanded geographies and topics around de-growth in an academic and activist context. Themes included welfare state, consumption, business, technology, education and labor as well as critical social theories such as feminism, Marxism and post-colonial theories. We were particularly interested in the debates around energy poverty, energy efficiency, and sufficiency as well as citizen energy initiatives and participation. Whereas this conference was clearly targeted for academics and activists, the post-growth conference, held in the heart of the European Union, invited various stakeholders to challenge the conventional economic thinking of the EU institutions. In these two-day conference representatives from politics, public and private sector, NGOs, entrepreneurs, academics, and activists took part in active workshops on how to rebuilt and rethink our economic systems. Core debates were around economic models, technology, climate policies, eco-sufficiency vs. -efficiency, basic income, wage bargaining, financial regulation, trade, taxes, money, and markets. We found it highly encouraging that this topic is finally on the table in European politics which was very much needed. However, no clear conclusions or agreements could be achieved emphasizing how much more work is left for a successful social and ecological transformation.