Federico Demaria

Short Bio

I am a researcher in ecological economics and political ecology at ICTA UAB, a prestigious interdisciplinary centre of environmental research (ranked 8th in environmental studies by the Center for World University Rankings and awarded as a unit of research excellence by the Spanish Ministry of Economy). My main research interest is to understand the relationship between the environment and the economy. I am also affiliated with the Department of Applied Economics of the same university. I have a consolidated experience in international and national competitive research projects, and presently I am the deputy coordinator of the ERC project EnvJustice (led by Prof. Joan Martinez-Alier) which maps and analyses the social conflicts between the environment and the economy.

Overall, I have published 17 articles in highly ranked journals in socio-environmental sciences like Ecological Economics and Sustainability Science, 14 book chapters, as well as edited 5 special issues and 2 successful books (one of which translated into more than 10 languages). I have proven experience in teaching and mentoring, that I consider an essential part of my professional and intellectual activity.

I have given over 100 talks and presentations mainly at scientific conferences, but also for the general public and policy makers, including at the House of Commons, Oxford University, and the European Commission. I am also active on academic social networks with personal profiles at Academia.edu and ResearchGate (with more than 30.000 and 20.000 views, respectively). Lastly, aiming to ensure a wide outreach of my research, I regularly publish press articles in English, Spanish, French and Italian, in newspapers like The Guardian, The Ecologist, The Conversation, eldiario.es (Spain) and Mediapart (France).
Ecological economics is a transdisciplinary field that aims to improve and expand economic theory to integrate the earth’s natural systems, but also human values, health and well-being. My research is related to its following central topics: 1) the relationships between the environment and growth, trade and/or technology (e.g. substitution between natural and man-made capital); 2) the scale issue deriving from the embeddedness of the economy in nature, and the ecological distribution conflicts related to it (i.e. “the calculations in nature”, such as social metabolism, that are the materials and energy flows within the economy); 3) valuation as well as decision- and policy-making (e.g. externalities or multicriteria assessment). In brief, ecological economics argues that economic theory needs to pay attention also to scale issues, since these cannot be reduced to either allocation or distribution.

The primary questions motivating my research in the coming years are these: 1) Why are natural resources and environmental impacts unequally distributed? And how does this occur? 2) Which public policies could promote more socially just and ecologically sustainable worlds? And how could this be achieved? In pursuit of answers to these questions I have developed an ambitious two-pronged research agenda. First, I plan to engage with a critique of growth-based development that depoliticizes genuine political antagonisms between alternative visions, as well as investigate the resistance it faces; and second, I will inquire into the alternative imaginaries. This gives coherence to my intellectual project as it pursues the following interrelated research interests related to the central topics of Ecological Economics: 1) Ecological Macroeconomics for Degrowth; 2) Economics of waste management; and 3) Mapping environmental justice and conflicts. In terms of geographical areas, I primarily focus on the Global South in general, and India in particular.
My work is interdisciplinary, and investigates the interactions between ecological and social processes putting emphasis upon spatial dimensions, biophysical dynamics, power relations, economic institutions, cultural narratives, political structures, and intersectionality of race, gender and class.

Research Interests: degrowth, environmental justice, pluriverse, post-development, waste.


Kallis, G., Paulson, S., D’Alisa, G., and Demaria, F.  (2020) The case for degrowth. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Kothari, A., Salleh, A., Escobar, A., Demaria, F. and Acosta Alberto (eds) (2019) Pluriverse: A Post-Development Dictionary. Delhi, India: Authors Up Front / Tulika / Columbia University Press. Foreign editions of this book are forthcoming in Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian and Chinese.

D’Alisa, G., Demaria, F., Kallis, G. (eds) (2014) Degrowth: a vocabulary for a new era. Abingdon, UK: Routledge. This book has been translated into Spanish, Catalan, French, Dutch, German, Korean, Croatian, Greek, Italian, Slovenian and Portuguese. Soon it will also be published into Chinese, Polish and Turkish. See https://vocabulary.degrowth.org/foreign-editions/

Scientific articles:

Schindler, S. and Demaria, F. (2020) ‘Garbage is gold’: Waste-based commodity frontiers, modes of valorization and ecological distribution conflicts. Capitalism, Nature and Socialism. DOI: 10.1080/10455752.2019.1694553 

Demaria, F., Kallis, G. And Bakker, K. (2019) Geographies of degrowth: Nowtopias, resurgences and the decolonization of imaginaries and places. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space 2(3): 431–450.

Akbulut, B., Demaria, F., Gerber, JF. and Martinez Alier, J. (2019) Who promotes sustainability? Five Theses on the Relationships Between the Degrowth and the Environmental Justice Movements. Ecological Economics 165: 106418

Temper, L., Demaria, F., Scheidel, A., Del Bene, D. and Martinez-Alier, J. (2018) The Global Environmental Justice Atlas (EJAtlas): ecological distribution conflicts as forces for sustainability. Sustainability Science 13(3): 573-584. 

Scheidel, A., Temper, L., Demaria, F. and Martínez-Alier, J. (2018) Ecological distribution conflicts as forces for sustainability: an overview and conceptual framework. Sustainability Science 13(3): 585-598. 

Beling, A., Vanhulst, J., Demaria, F., Rabid, V., Carballo, AE. and Pelenc, J. (2018). Discursive synergies for a ‘Great Transformation’ towards sustainability: pragmatic contributions to a necessary dialogue between Human Development, Degrowth, and Buen Vivir. Ecological Economics 144: 304-313.

Demaria, F. and Kothari, A. (2017) The Post-Development Dictionary agenda: paths to the pluriverse. Third World Quarterly 38: 2588-2599.

Martinez-Alier, J., Demaria, F., Temper, L., and Walter, M. (2016). Changing social metabolism and environmental conflicts in India and South America. Journal of Political Ecology 23: 467-491.

Demaria, F., Schindler, S. (2015). Contesting urban metabolism: struggles over waste-to-energy in Delhi, India. Antipode. A Radical Journal of Geography 48 (2): 293–313.

Kothari, A., Demaria, F., Acosta, A. (2015) Alternatives to Sustainable Development and the Green Economy: Buen Vivir, Eco-Swaraj and Degrowth. Development 57(3-4): 362-375.

Asara, V., Otero, I., Demaria, F. and Corbera, E. (2015) Socially sustainable Degrowth as a Social-Ecological Transformation. Repoliticizing Sustainability. Sustainability Science 10 (3): 375-384.

J. Martinez-Alier, I. Anguelovski, P. Bond, D. Del Bene, F. Demaria, J.F. Gerber, L. Greyl, W. Haase, H. Healy, V. Marín-Burgos, G.U. Ojo, M.F. Porto, L. Rijnhout, B. Rodríguez-Labajos, J. Spangenberg, L. Temper, R. Warlenius, I. Yánez (2014) Between activism and science: grassroots concepts for sustainability coined by Environmental Justice Organizations. Journal of Political Ecology 21.

Martinez-Alier, J., Temper, L., Demaria, F. (2014) Social Metabolism and Environmental Conflicts in India. Indialogs, Spanish Journal of India Studies 1(1): 51-83. Available at: http://revistes.uab.cat/indialogs. A previous version of the article has also been published by the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, Delhi, India (NMML Occasional Paper, Perspectives in Indian Development, New Series 32).

Demaria, F., Schneider, F., Sekulova, F., Martinez-Alier, J. (2013). What is degrowth? From an activist slogan to a social movement. Environmental Values 22 (2): 191-215. Special issue on degrowth – download pdf 

D’Alisa, G., Demaria, F., Cattaneo, C. (2013). Civil and Uncivil Actors for a Degrowth Society. Journal of Civil Society 9 (2): 212-224. Special Issue ‘Citizens vs. Markets: How Civil Society is Rethinking the Economy in a Time of Crises’ – download pdf 

Schindler, S., Demaria, F., Bhushan, S. (2012). Delhi Waste Conflict. Economic and Political Weekly XLVII: 42, pp. 18-21.

Demaria, F., Schneider, F., Calsamiglia, A., Blanco, L., Domeneghini, D., (2011). Degrowth in Sudeuropa: Komplementaritat in der Vielfalt (Degrowth: complementarity in diversity). VSA-Verlag, Hamburg (Germany), pp. 161-172. [Book promoted by Attac Germany for a conference on post-growth and degrowth, Berlin 20-22 May 2011. Link: Jenseits des Wachstums. – download english version in pdf 

Schneider, F., Demaria, F., (2011). Decreixement sostenible: complementarietat en la diversitat. In: Decreixement economic: nous arguments sobre els limits del creixement. Revista Nous Horitzons. N.202, Any 50, pp. D44-D50. – download pdf 

Demaria, F. (2010). Shipbreaking at Alang-Sosiya (India): an ecological distribution distribution conflict. Ecological economics.- download pdf 

Demaria, F., D’Alisa, G. (2013) Accumulation by contamination. EJOLT (Environmental Justice Organisations, Liabilities and Trade) Glossary.
Available online at: http://www.ejolt.org/section/resources/glossary/

Demaria, F., D’Alisa, G. (2013). Le nuove frontiere dell’accumulazione capitalistica. Rifiuti e lotte ambientali in India. Zapruder, Storie in movimento.

Demaria, F., D’Alisa, G. (2012). Industrialización de la gestión de los residuos en Delhi (India): ¿cual es el futuro de los recicladores? Ecologia Politica 43, pp. 37-46.

Selected media articles

Escobar, A., Kothari, A., Salleh, A., Acosta, A. and Demaria, F. (09/09/2019) ‘Development’ is colonialism in disguise: Other worlds are possible – the Pluriverse is breathing. Open Democracy. Available at: https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/oureconomy/development-colonialism-disguise/This article has been translated to: Spanish: http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=260254&titular=el-pluriverso-ya-respira…-  French: https://blogs.mediapart.fr/demaria-federico/blog/141019/le-developpement-cest-le-colonialisme-deguise

Demaria, F. with over 200 scientists (16/09/2018) The EU needs a stability and wellbeing pact, not more growth. The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/sep/16/the-eu-needs-a-stability-and-wellbeing-pact-not-more-growth. This open letter was translated in over 15 languages, and published by more than 20 newspapers all over Europe. The letter, turned into a petition, was signed by over 70,000 people. Find all the references here: https://degrowth.org/2018/09/06/post-growth-open-letter/

EnvJustice team (05/06/2018) How the environmental justice movement transforms our world. The Ecologist. Available at: https://theecologist.org/2018/jun/05/how-environmental-justice-movement-transforms-our-world This article has been translated to: French: https://blogs.mediapart.fr/envjustice/blog/300518/comment-le-mouvement-pour-la-justice-environnementale-transforme-notre-monde  Spanish: https://www.eldiario.es/ultima-llamada/Transformando-traves-justicia-ambiental-ejemplos_6_781181875.html

Demaria, F. (27/03/2018) The rise – and future – of the degrowth movement. The Ecologist. Available at: https://theecologist.org/2018/mar/27/rise-and-future-degrowth-movementThis articles has been translated into: French: https://blogs.mediapart.fr/projet-de-decroissance/blog/210618/10e-anniversaire-des-conferences-internationales-de-la-decroissance Italian: https://comune-info.net/2018/06/decrescita-5/ Spanish: https://www.eldiario.es/ultima-llamada/aniversario-Decrecimiento-provocadora-activista-academico_6_756684346.html

Demaria, F. (22/02/2018) Why economic growth is not compatible with environmental sustainability. The Ecologist and MetaMag. Available at: https://theecologist.org/2018/feb/22/why-economic-growth-not-compatible-environmental-sustainabilityhttps://metamag.org/2018/02/21/opinion-economic-growth-is-not-compatible-with-environmental-sustainability/This article has been translated into French: https://blogs.mediapart.fr/initiatives-decroissantes/blog/100418/federico-demaria-croissance-et-environnement-sont-incompatibles

Demaria, F. (16/01/2017) When degrowth enters the parliament. The Ecologisthttp://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/2988542/when_degrowth_enters_the_parliament.htmlThis articles has been translated into: French at Media Parthttps://blogs.mediapart.fr/demaria-federico/blog/160217/quand-la-decroissance-fait-son-entree-au-parlement-0 Spanish at eldiario.eshttp://www.eldiario.es/ultima-llamada/decrecimiento-entra-parlamento_6_623697642.html Czech at Deník Referendum: http://denikreferendum.cz/clanek/24987-hnuti-nerustu-na-ceste-do-vysoke-politiky

Kothari, A., Demaria, F., Acosta, A. (21/07/2015) Sustainable development is failing but there are alternatives to capitalism. The Guardianhttp://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/jul/21/capitalism-alternatives-sustainable-development-failing?CMP=share_btn_twThis article has been also published into: French at Libération (24/08/2015): http://www.liberation.fr/terre/2015/08/24/le-developpement-durable-en-echec_1368788 Turkish at Yeşil Gazete (28/08/2015): http://yesilgazete.org/blog/2015/08/28/surdurulebilir-kalkinma-sinifta-kalirken-kapitalizme-alternatifler-bulunuyor/ Polish at Global Labhttp://globallab.org.pl/2015/08/28/zrownowazony-rozwoj-zawodzi-ale-sa-alternatywy-dla-kapitalizmu/ Spanish at Rebelion: http://rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=202775 German at Neues Deutschland: https://www.neues-deutschland.de/artikel/1007890.im-diesseits-des-wachstums.html