What does Truth and Reconciliation teach us about degrowth in settler societies? An exploration of the interconnections between degrowth and the TRC Calls to Action

Degrowth offers pathways to stay within ecological limits while increasing human and planetary well-being. As settler scholars living in so-called Canada, we see a gap in the degrowth branch of ecological economics regarding degrowth transitions within settler societies, as much of this literature comes from a European context. In this paper, we attempt to analyze the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to explore how a degrowth transition may help us move forward together on the path to Reconciliation with (and decolonization of) First Nations, Metis and Inuit Peoples. We do this by reviewing relevant academic and grey literature, showing the interconnections between degrowth’s emphasis on ecological limits and reconciliation with the Land; on autonomy and Indigenous sovereignty; and moving towards a multiplicity of knowledge to live ‘the good life’. Here, we offer an exploration of these interconnections to open up three lines of inquiry. We explore how we might ground degrowth transitions in reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and the Land, question what degrowth means on occupied Land, and move towards pluralistic and decolonial degrowth imaginaries. We put forward this contribution to the ecological economics and degrowth communities as a challenge to engage with and act upon the Calls to Action from the TRC, and their implications for degrowth.

Managing zoonotic diseases in northern Canada: Understanding attitudes of stakeholders and local rightsholders

Many isolated Indigenous communities depended on wood bison for millennia, but large declines in wood bison populations have negatively affected food security. Zoonotic diseases in half of the Canadian wood bison population have limited the recovery of the species. Wood bison management has often focused on limiting spillback into the Canadian cattle population rather than the needs of rightsholders and stakeholders. Recent events have pressured the Canadian government to address the bison health issue and to include rightsholders in the management process. The diseased wood bison populations live in and around Wood Buffalo National Park (WBNP). Our research attempts to understand the bison health management attitudes of rightsholders and stakeholders to inform future policy. For example, our preliminary results show that a person’s beliefs about the effectiveness of a management strategy are the strongest predictor of their support for that strategy (r2 = 0.5-0.65). But additional predictors of support (e.g., knowledge, perceptions of risk) for a management strategy change across informants (e.g., hunters vs. non-hunters) and the strategies themselves (e.g., vaccination vs. depopulation). Different strategies also have different potential for conflict within and between rightsholder and stakeholder groups; some strategies, such as eco-management, show large differences in the average support between stakeholder groups which could predict future potential conflict. These preliminary results are based on participants from western Canada. We will be collecting additional responses from the communities around WBNP over the coming months with a particular focus on the views of rightsholder groups around WBNP. These results will provide a more complete picture of how management attitudes develop, and what strategies may be divisive or unifying across rightsholders and stakeholders. In addition to helping identify the most preferred policy, understanding the predictors of support can inform cooperative and communication aspects of the policy formulation process.