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Currently Browsing: Consumer Culture

Book Launch: Simple Living in History

In a few weeks I’ll be launching my new book, Simple Living in History: Pioneers of the Deep Future, which I co-edited with Amanda McLeod. The book brings together 26 chapters, from different authors, discussing the most prominent individuals, cultures, and movements that have embraced forms of ‘simple living’ throughout history (see table of contents below). The book is being launched by... read more

The Hidden Door: Mindful Sufficiency as an Alternative to Extinction

I am honoured to announce the publication of Mark Burch’s new book, The Hidden Door: Mindful Sufficiency as an Alternative to Extinction, available here. Published proudly by the Simplicity Institute, this text brings together some of Mark’s finest essays of recent years, and includes a new introduction. A deep yet accessible book, here’s the blurb: Many people sense that consumer... read more

Too Many Teddies (Children’s Book)

I was recently contacted by a new author/illustrator called Glenn Martin, who has just written a children’s book related to consumerism and simple living, which he tells me was inspired by reading Entropia. Glenn’s book, “Too Many Teddies“, is a sweet and simple story of a little elephant named Ned and his teddy Pixie. Ned gets caught up in the excitement of buying too many teddy... read more

The Hour is Darkest just before Dawn: Crisis as Opportunity

The Festival of Ideas is on at the University of Melbourne at the moment, and I was invited to give a short talk, envisioning how Australia made the transition to a low-carbon society by the year 2033. Here is the transcript: As I look back from the year 2033, I would like to be able to tell you that the transition to our low-carbon society was smooth and rational. I would like to be able to tell you that,... read more

Changing Gears: A Pedal-Powered Detour from the Rat Race

Recently I was fortunate enough to attend the book launch of Changing Gears: A Pedal Powered Detour from the Rat Race, written by Greg Foyster. Over the last week or so I’ve devoured this highly enjoyable read. This book achieves the challenging task of being eminently readable and ethically deep, and every few pages Greg’s sharp sense of humour produces genuine ‘laugh out loud’ moments. In fact, I... read more

Living without a fridge

I’ve been living without a fridge for the last three months – the winter months of Melbourne, Australia. Before you send me to the asylum, however, let me tell you about this experiment which produced several interesting, and I think important, surprises, related to energy consumption and lifestyle habits. My main conclusion, which I’ll unpack below, is that living without a fridge (at least in... read more

Entropia: Life Beyond Industrial Civilisation

I am very pleased to announce the publication of my new book, Entropia: Life Beyond Industrial Civilisation. This book is a creative work of fiction – a ‘utopia of sufficiency’ – in which I bring to life a simple living community that became isolated on a small island after the collapse of industrial civilisation. Looking back from the future, I describe the economy, culture, and politics of the... read more

Self-Sufficiency in a ‘Time of Plenty’

Today I’m happy to be posting two interesting and insightful essays by Dr Amanda McLeod: (1) “Self-Suffciency in a ‘Time of Plenty’: Mass Consumerism and Freedom in 1970s Australia”; and (2) “Consumer Choice: Another Case of Deceptive Advertising?” I’ve posted abstracts to both essays below, and the full essays are freely available from the links... read more

How to Live Simply: The De-Junking Guide

A few years ago Mark A. Burch wrote a helpful ‘de-junking guide’ which he has kindly given me permission to post online. I’ve posted a couple of pages from an introductory section below and the full text (full of practical advice) is freely available here. This text supports the practical advice the Simplicity Institute offers at The Simpler Way Project.  To start, we need to appreciate... read more

The Simplicity Exercises: A Sourcebook for Simplicity Educators

On this first day of spring, which symbolises new life, it brings me great pleasure to announce the publication of Mark Burch’s The Simplicity Exercises: A Sourcebook for Simplicity Educators. This special issue from the Simplicity Institute takes us in a new direction, moving beyond the analytical stage of defending simplicity and criticising growth-based, consumer-orientated economies, toward the... read more
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