The movement started in Barcelona and its region, Catalonia wherein since 2005, activists debated about the energy crisis and potential alternatives in the forum of a web page: crisis energetica (energetic crisis). In 2006, the french book ‘Objective degrowth’ is translated into Catalan and the environmental organization Una sola terra organizes a conference called “Degrowth to save the planet”. In 2007 the group Entesa pel decreixement is founded in Barcelona. Many of the activists had been active in the anti-globalization movement, but also in environmentalist, pacifist and libertarian collectives. In 2008, a march with bicycles lead to the creation of the Xarxa pel Decreixement (Network for degrowth) aiming to promote degrowth discourse and practices in all Catalonia. About three hundred people gathered at the end of the march to build the network. The network articulates groups for their geographic location and their thematic focus (education, food, communication, contra-hegemonic economy and defense of the territory).
Partly influenced by the left-libertarian movements with a focus on autonomy and self-management, the Catalan movement for degrowth always intended to engage with other social movements and practices based on anti-capitalism. On the other hand, Degrowth has often been endorsed as a baseline for groups involved in environmental conflicts (dealing with water, energy, infrastructures or climate change), agroecology, solidarity economy, education and awareness-raising. Currently the most ambitious project in this sense is the CIC (Catalan Integral Cooperative) which tries to include ways of satisfying all basic human needs. A local currency, the ‘ECOS’, is used for exchanges.
The movement has also arrived into academia; for example with a group of researchers of the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (including Joan Martinez Alier and Giorgios Kallis), or professors like Carlos Taibo or Joaquim Sempere.
Many other groups are now active in all of Spain (decrecimiento) and an attempt is being made to connect to each other. Some historical civil society organizations have come on board, like the most important Spanish network of environmental organizations called Ecologistas en Acción, in link with the trade union CGT.