Posts filed under ‘Reducing Consumption’

What Can We Do?

Tapajós River in the Amazon © Todd Southgate / Greenpeace

At the University of Minnesota Dr. Nate Hagens teaches an honours course called “Reality 101: A Survey of the Human Predicament.” Hagens operated his own hedge fund on Wall Street until he glimpsed, “a serious disconnect between capitalism, growth, and the natural world. Money did not appear to bring wealthy clients more well being.

”Reality 101 addresses humanity’s toughest challenges: economic decline, inequality, pollution, biodiversity loss, and war. Students learn about systems ecology, neuroscience, and economics. “We ask hard questions,” says Hagens. “What is wealth? What are the limits to growth? We attempt to face our crises head on.”

Some students feel inspired to action, and some report finding the material “depressing.” One student shared the course material with a family member, who asked, “So what can I do?” The student struggled to answer this question, and the listener chastised her: “why did you explain all this to me, if you can’t tell me what to do?!”

A fair question. One that, as environmentalists, we often get asked. At the request of Dr Hagens, here is my list: Read What Can We Do? by Rex Weyler at Greenpeace.

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December 19, 2018 at 12:29 pm Leave a comment

Degrowth in the suburbs

So what would become of the suburbs if we gave up fossil fuels and moved toward a low-energy, post-carbon society beyond growth?

Suburban catastrophists like James Kunstler in the US argue that fossil fuel depletion will imminently render the suburban landscape an inhospitable wasteland. Such curdled imaginations fail to recognise suburbia’s latent capacity to become something new.

Inspired by research and advocacy from the likes of Ivan IllichDavid Holmgren, and Ted Trainer, we see the suburbs as an ideal place to begin retrofitting our cities according to a new vision of prosperity. 

Read Degrowth in the suburbs by Dr Samuel Alexander and Brendan Gleeson at Ecologist.

November 7, 2018 at 12:11 pm Leave a comment

Developing a Circular Narrative: The Case of Relooping Fashion

It is often said that transitioning towards a circular economy requires a number of changes in the way businesses operate. For example, the linear supply chain will need to be re-organised into a circular ecosystem, which decouples growth from the use of virgin raw materials and resources.

What do these changes mean in terms of communications and marketing? The

Relooping Fashion initiative created and piloted a closed-loop model for textiles with seven business partners. As part of the project, the following research questions were explored: 1) What are the consumers’ views on circular fashion? 2) How should the remanufacturing process be communicated to encourage consumers to choose circular fashion?

Read Developing a Circular Narrative: The Case of Relooping Fashion by at Sustainable Brands.

September 5, 2018 at 10:31 am Leave a comment

12 Ways to Stop Wasting Money and Take Control of Your Stuff

In my work as a consumer psychologist and author, I’ve read countless studies about consumer behavior, and I’ve conducted plenty of research on my own, interviewing hundreds of shoppers about how, when, and why they shop. Here’s what I’ve learned about how to avoid piling up too much stuff and how to stop making unnecessary, excessive, and ultimately unsatisfying purchases.

Read12 Ways to Stop Wasting Money and Take Control of Your Stuff by Kit Yarrow at Money.

August 13, 2018 at 10:05 am Leave a comment

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.

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

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

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