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Currently Browsing: Consumer Culture

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

Life After the Peak

The following short article has just appeared in this month’s edition of Issues magazine (Vol: 99, pp40-43). It is adapted from my much longer article, ‘Peak Oil, Energy Descent, and the Fate of Consumerism,’ which is available here. The PDF of the article below is available here. Evidence is mounting that the age of cheap energy – the age of cheap oil, in particular – is... read more

Ted Trainer and The Simpler Way (Review Essay)

I’m very pleased to announce that Ted Trainer has joined the Simplicity Institute, and in recognition of this important event I’ve spent the last week writing a review essay of his work, which I’ve posted below. Ted has been writing about The Simpler Way for many years,  and in coming weeks and months he will be publishing a series of essays on the Simplicity Institute website (which I... read more

Living Better on Less? Toward an Economics of Sufficiency

My last article summarised a longer paper I have just finished called “Living Better on Less? Toward an Economics of Sufficiency.” This paper reviews the social research that examines the relationship between income and happiness. The central question I ask is: How important is money to happiness? The weight of evidence suggests that income growth tends to contribute positively to human... read more
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