Posts filed under ‘Reducing Consumption’

The High Cost of an Easy-Care, Low-Maintenance World

Image result for easy care clothes on hangers

As it turns out, maintenance has gotten a bad wrap. Maintenance is really a form of caring. Modern philosophers bemoan our love of material things. But I believe that we modern, industrialized people do not actually love material things. We wouldn’t treat material things the way we do if we truly loved and cared for them.

By abandoning the duty of maintenance we owe to the objects in our lives, we are distancing ourselves from the physical world and essentially sending the entropy elsewhere for someone else to deal with, whether human or non-human

Easy care and low maintenance are merely local phenomena. Once we pull back and see the bigger picture, the entropy produced by them creates a maintenance burden on others, on society and on other living organisms and natural systems.

Read The High Cost of an Easy-Care, Low-Maintenance World by Kurt Cobb at Resource Insights.

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March 28, 2018 at 10:23 am Leave a comment

Our Top 10 Most Read Posts of 2017

These are among the pieces that appealed the most to Transition Cornwall+ readers in 2017. Maybe you missed a few, or worth another read as we head into a new year?

#10: The Monster Footprint of Digital Technology The power consumption of our high-tech machines and devices is hugely underestimated.

#9: Truly Sustainable Economic Development For those of us thinking about ways to foster local, sustainable, green businesses, here are some wise words.

#8: What Kind of Housing Do Aging Boomers Need?…the obsession with wide doors with lever handles and corridors connecting the garage to the house is misplaced.

#7: Karim Sulayma – I Trust You “For me, one of the key things that needs to underpin our work and our movements over the next 4 years is empathy”

#6: Now is the Time to Think About Your Fall Garden Cool autumn weather favors a long list of leafy greens and root crops, from spinach and kale to radishes and rutabagas.

#5: Combating Textile Waste One of the biggest misconceptions that consumers have is that we should only donate clothes that are gently used.

#4: Beyond the Blue Box The government’s new Waste-Free Ontario Act and Strategy for a Waste- Free Ontario set an ambitious goal of a circular economy that sends zero waste to landfill.

#3: How to Encourage Entrepreneurship in Your Townnine different ideas for promoting entrepreneurship, within both government and the private sector.

#2: The New Consumerism: Redefining Ownership, Values and Priorities  As consumers reassess their priorities and increasingly ask themselves what they truly value, a host of major consumer trends have emerged…

#1: TLTI Thinking Tiny (Homes)  When it comes to new housing, the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands is thinking small. Tiny, in fact.

December 27, 2017 at 11:41 am Leave a comment

This Montreal cafe will fix your broken gadgets for free

Repair CafeA Montreal cafe is pairing owners of broken household items with handy experts in an effort to fight back against throwaway consumer culture.

The Repair Cafe is one of more than 1,400 groups in Canada and around the world encouraging people to troubleshoot their toasters, headphones, printers, and waffle irons, rather than toss them in the trash.

“In Canada, we generate almost 20 kilograms of electronic waste per year and per person. And we only recycle five kilograms per year and per person,” the Repair Cafe’s Tanguy Marquer told CTV News.

The volunteers are mainly engineering students and retirees. They’re willing to work for free to help divert as many old clock-radios and blenders from landfills as possible.

Read This Montreal cafe will fix your broken gadgets for free at CTV News.

December 20, 2017 at 9:01 am Leave a comment

Waste Reduction Group Launch

Filmed by YourTV Cornwall. Attendees had the opportunity to learn more about the 7 R’s of waste reduction at the launch of Transition Cornwall +’s newest action group.

November 27, 2017 at 11:02 am Leave a comment

The monster footprint of digital technology

Circuit board 1

The power consumption of our high-tech machines and devices is hugely underestimated.

When we talk about energy consumption, all attention goes to the electricity use of a device or a machine while in operation. A 30 watt laptop is considered more energy efficient than a 300 watt refrigerator. This may sound logical, but this kind of comparisons does not make much sense if you don’t also consider the energy that was required to manufacture the devices you compare. This is especially true for high-tech products, which are produced by means of extremely material- and energy-intensive manufacturing processes. How much energy do our high-tech gadgets really consume?

A handful of microchips can have as much embodied energy as a car. And since digital technology has brought about a plethora of new products, and has also infiltrated almost all existing products, this change has vast consequences.

Last, but not least: the energy-intensive nature of digital technology is not due only to energy-intensive manufacturing processes. Equally as important is the extremely short lifecycle of most gadgets. If digital products would last a lifetime (or at least a decade), embodied energy would not be such an issue. Most computers and other electronic devices are replaced only after a couple of years, while they are still perfectly workable devices. Addressing technological obsolescence would be the most powerful approach to lower the ecological footprint of digital technology.

Read the full article: The monster footprint of digital technology at by Kris De Decker Low Tech Magazine.

July 12, 2017 at 10:19 am Leave a comment

Squeezing Oil Out of Your Travel (Make Your Life Less Oily in 2017, Part 2)

oil-spillAs long as you and I consume oil, we make oil nastiness possible in the most basic way. Our money, and how we spend it, is an extension of our values, our intent, our convictions. If we don’t consume the oil, then, yes, someone else might. But when we participate in the ugly world of oil by consuming its products, we not only make it profitable, we give the whole craziness our implicit consent. Our efforts to change this are not useless drops in the bucket. Paradigm shifts most often happen first within small subgroups that eventually form enough critical mass to cause large-scale cultural change.

Now I know you’re not going to shed your junk miles, move to a ten-minute neighborhood or replace all your flights with trains tomorrow. It may, in fact, take you years to squeeze the oil out of your travel. I suggest for 2017 that you adopt the task as a kind of hobby, (after all, we don’t mind spending time and money on our hobbies) and get creative, flexible and even adventurous about the options available. You may be surprised by the life benefits that cheap oil has been hiding from you.

Read Squeezing Oil Out of Your Travel (Make Your Life Less Oily in 2017, Part 2) by Karen Lynn Allen at Musings.

May 1, 2017 at 11:07 am Leave a comment

How to Throw a Successful Yard Sale

By gosh, there’s nothing better than a good sale. And I’m not talking about shopping. Selling off your stuff can be surprisingly fun, liberating, and profitable. It’s hard work, though. To ensure good profits, your best bet is to organize a multi-family or neighborhood sale. Bigger sales bring more customers; a well-run, well-publicized event can net hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

So how do you do it? Well, you’ll need more than a newspaper ad. Get organized, plan ahead, and use social media to make your sale stand out.

1. Start early and in person.
A month or two before the sale date, start calling your neighbors and friends. Hold a planning meeting, potluck-style. Topics of conversation: location, date, theme, and price points. Make an action plan and let every household choose a manageable task.

2. Create a web presence.
This step makes all the difference, but it doesn’t need to be complicated! The easiest method is to create a Facebook event. It’s quick to set up, and you can invite most of your friends and neighbors.

3. Catalogue the goods.
Create an online photo album (e.g. on Flickr). Use a shared login so your co-sellers can upload photos. Ask everyone to post their interesting or valuable items, along with information about any antiques or collectibles. If possible, set up a separate album for each participating household.

Read all 8 tips at How to Throw a Successful Yard Sale by Jessica Reeder at Shareable.

April 24, 2017 at 11:07 am Leave a comment

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