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Technology and Simple Living

Mark Burch was one of the first writers to guide me into the enriching depths of simplicity as an idea and as an evolving way of life, so I am very honoured to say that he has just published a Simplicity Institute report called ‘Twenty Questions: Technology and Simple Living.’ It’s a deep essay, full of substance and insight, which asks challenging questions about the role of technology in modern... read more

What will Rio+20 bring?

My article below, on the Rio+20 conference, has just been published on the Post-Carbon Institute’s Energy Bulletin, available here.  In a few days the international community will be meeting in Rio de Janeiro to hold the most significant environmental conference since the Rio Earth Summit of 1992. As the planet’s ecosystems tremble under the weight of overconsumption, this conference surely... 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

Voluntary Simplicity, Degrowth, and Peak Oil

Over the last few years I’ve written a bunch of papers and articles focusing on voluntary simplicity, degrowth, and peak oil. With the new university semester fast approaching, my time available to write long papers is going to diminish, so I thought I’d list my publications to date, with links to most of the full working papers, excluding book chapters. (N.B. The working papers linked below... read more

Transition 2.0: A Story of Hope and Resilience in Extraordinary Times

Sorry about the late notice, but Transition Coburg, in association with Sharing Abundance and the Moreland Energy Foundation, is screening a film on Sunday 20 May (i.e. tomorrow or perhaps today, depending on when you get this email) at the Coburg library at 3.45 pm. We are showing the new film, Transition 2.0: A Story of Hope and Resilience in Extraordinary Times. If you are in Melbourne and would like to... read more

Transition Towns as Resilience Pioneers

Dr. John Barry has just published an original and challenging new book called The Politics of Actually Existing Unsustainability: Human Flourishing in a Climate-Changed, Carbon-Contrained World. John was leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland for six years, and now is a Reader in Politics at Queen’s University, Belfast, Ireland. Here’s the blurb of his new book: Going against both the... read more

Can Renewable Energy Sustain Consumer Societies?

Ted Trainer has just published a new report with the Simplicity Institute, which explores the question of whether renewable energy could ever sustain consumer societies.  My summary of Trainer’s report (see below) has just appeared on the Post Carbon Institute’s Energy Bulletin, which is available here. The full 22-page report is available here.  A new report has just been published... read more

Envisioning a Sustainable Urban Landscape

In my last post, “Urban Food Forests: A Policy Proposal,” I began by noting that relocalising food production – especially in urban centres – is absolutely critical to decarbonising our economies and making our communities more resilient. I stated that my vision of a sustainable urban landscape (a vision you might share?) is one where the streets are lined with fruit and nut trees,... read more

Urban Food Forests: A Policy Proposal

Relocalising food production – especially in urban centres – is absolutely critical to decarbonising our economies and making our communities more resilient. My vision of a sustainable urban landscape is one where the streets are lined with fruit and nut trees, supplying the community with a greater portion of its own food. The City of Moreland (my local Council in Melbourne) is in the process... 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

Post Carbon Pathways

This month the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute and the Centre for Policy Development, at Melbourne University, released a major report, entitled “Post Carbon Pathways: Reviewing Post Carbon Economy Transition Strategies.” Authored by John Wiseman and Taegen Edwards, this report provides an overview of the key goals and priorities of 18 of the most ambitious, promising and innovative... 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

The Simple Life has Benefits for All of Us

The following article was published in The Age today (16 March). The online newspaper version is available here. Increasing material wealth has been, and remains, one of the dominant goals of humankind – perhaps the dominant goal. This is hardly surprising, of course, given the extremely low material living standards endured by most people throughout history, and indeed, by great multitudes around the... read more

Questioning the Growth Imperative

This post has been published recently in Green (the publication of the Australian Greens), Issue 35, p9.  Celebrated economist, Sir John Hicks, began one of his essays with the pronouncement, ‘We are living in an age of growth.’ It is a view that applies more so today than ever before, at least as a statement of economic desire, if not as a description of recent economic reality. As the world economy... read more

Sustainability in Fiction: Black Cow by Magdalena Ball

Magdalena Ball, one of the readers of this website, has just published a book of fiction called Black Cow, which explores themes related consumerism and sustainability. Below she provides an overview of her novel. Thanks to Maggie for her efforts, and congratulations for bringing this work to fruition. Freya and James Archer live the high life in a luxury home in Sydney’s poshest suburb, with money,... read more
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