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Currently Browsing: Overconsumption

Voluntary Simplicity: The Poetic Alternative to Consumer Culture

 In 2009 I published (on a not-for-profit basis) an anthology of articles on simple living, entitled Voluntary Simplicity: The Poetic  Alternative to Consumer Culture. It includes 20 chapters from leading advocates of simple living, including Clive Hamilton, Juliet Schor,  and Henry Thoreau, among many others. I’ve just noticed that Fishpond is having a sale and currently my text is only $16... read more

Just Enough is Plenty: Thoreau’s Alternative Economics (Audio Lecture and E-Book)

I’ve recently started teaching a Masters of Environment course called, “Consumerism and Sustainability,” through the Office for Environmental Programs, University of Melbourne. Last night I was privileged enough to deliver a lecture on Thoreau, and I have attached an audio file of part of that lecture if anyone would like to have a listen. I have also attached an e-book called ‘Just... read more

Reimagining the Good Life beyond Consumer Culture

Continuing the July series of publications, this post consists of an essay called “The Voluntary Simplicity Movement: Reimagining the Good Life beyond Consumer Culture,’ which is soon to be published in the peer-reviewed, International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability. This essay, which is based on a collection of earlier posts on this website, is... read more

Voluntary Simplicity and the Social Reconstruction of Law: Degrowth from the Grassroots Up

The inner crisis of our civilization must be resolved if the outer crisis is to be effectively met. - Lewis Mumford Building upon the arguments presented in the previous post, this post consists of another working paper for a journal, this time focusing on the relationship between voluntary simplicity and degrowth. The paper is entitled ‘Voluntary Simplicity and the Social Reconstruction of Law:... read more

Ted Trainer and the Simpler Way

Ted Trainer is one of the wisest, boldest, and most dedicated advocates of The Simpler Way.  In 2010 he published a book called, The Transition to a Sustainable and Just World, and I have to say that it is one of the best books I have ever read in my life. If you only have time to read one more book in your life, consider reading this one. It speaks directly to our global situation and condition, and it... read more

How to Win the Wilberforce Award: The Problem is Overconsumption not Overpopulation

There are now many credible scientific studies establishing that the global economy is exceeding, by some way, the regenerative and absorptive capacities of Earth’s ecosystems. One way to understand this defining problem of our age, and perhaps move towards its resolution, is to look at the problem of overpopulation. The planet is in such a dire situation, it can be argued, because there are just too... read more

We are not Machines: The Parable of Sufficiency

Let me define a machine very broadly as something incapable of thought that reacts predictably to a given stimulus. Take a vending machine, for example. Someone puts money in, pushes certain buttons, and without thinking about it, the machine distributes the goods selected. Now imagine another type of machine – a robot. Suppose every time this robot has an opportunity to acquire money it does so and then... read more

An Introduction to Peak Oil: Some Online Resources

For some time I have been interested in the notion of peak oil, but recently I have had the opportunity to research quite extensively on the subject. I am currently working on an essay about peak oil and its implications for high consumption lifestyles, but presently I would just like to share some of the best online resources (articles, videos, and websites) that I have discovered in my research. Before... read more

Money, Stuff, and the Deathbed Experiment

If you’d excuse the rather confronting title, I’d like to invite you to undertake what I call the ‘Deathbed Experiment.’ It’s simple and goes like this: Imagine you are on your deathbed and someone asks you: “What attitudes defined your life?” What would you want to be able to say? This thought experiment never fails to move me in some way, and I always feel that it moves me in the right... read more

Consume More or Work Less?

Rethinking attitudes to work is central to the way many participants in the Simplicity Movement approach simple living.[1] Charles Siegel poses the critical question: ‘Should we take advantage of our increasing productivity to consume more or to have more free time?’[2] If people keep raising their material standard of living every time they come into more money – through a pay rise, for example, or... read more
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