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There’s No Tomorrow (Film)

Ignoring the rather gloomy title, I highly recommend this new educational video on peak oil and economic growth. It’s a very engaging summary of many of the issues related to peak oil and resource depletion, and it’s essentially a short (34mins) visual expression of my recent paper, “Peak Oil, Energy Descent, and the Fate of Consumerism,” which is available here. To watch the video,... read more

Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil

A shout out to all Melbournians: Transition Coburg is screening “The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil” this Sunday (today) 26 February at 3pm, the Coburg Library (access in the side door, from the Coburg Mall). This is an inspiring film about how Cuba relocalised its food production almost overnight…. when they had to. Food for thought. Hope to see some of you there.... read more

Overcoming Barriers to Sustainable Consumption

Our country is set up structurally to oppose voluntary simplicity. – Michael Jacobson Our lifestyle decisions, especially our consumption decisions, are not made in a vacuum. Instead, they are made within social, economic, and political structures of constraint, and those structures make some lifestyle decisions easy or necessary and other lifestyle decisions difficult or impossible. Change the social,... read more

The Simpler Way: A Practical Action Plan for Living More on Less

I’m pleased and excited to announce the launch of the latest initiative of the Simplicity Institute – The Simpler Way: A Practical Action Plan for Living More on Less. ____ The Simpler Way, created in collaboration with Ted Trainer, consists of a website and booklet which provide detailed practical advice on how to live a ‘simpler life’ of reduced and restrained consumption. More... read more

The High Price of Materialism

Tim Kasser is a psychologist that has spent many years researching into the effects of materialistic values and practices on human wellbeing. I highly recommend his excellent book, “The High Price of Materialism,” but for those who only have five minutes to spare, many of the key insights of that text are summarised in a new educational video Kasser has made. It’s only five minutes long,... read more

David Holmgren: Retrofitting the Suburbs for Sustainability

Exciting news for all Melbournians: David Holmgren, co-originator of the ‘permaculture’ concept, is giving a free lunchtime talk at Melbourne’s Wheeler Centre on 16 February 2012. His subject is ‘Retrofitting the Suburbs for Sustainability,” and it isn’t to be missed. David’s insight into the various social and ecological challenges of our times is unrivalled, and... read more

Toward a Foucauldian Ethics of Sustainable Consumption

I’ve turned my last post ‘Self-Cultivation and the Art of Voluntary Simplicity’ into an essay, which itself is based on the rather-too-long manuscript I posted a few months ago, called ‘Voluntary Simplicity as an Aesthetics of Existence.’ I hope this much abridged essay might be less daunting, despite the fact that it is framed by Foucault’s ethics. I’ve posted the... read more

Self-Cultivation and the Art of Voluntary Simplicity

Consumption is a proper subject of ethical concern primarily for the following three reasons: (1) the planet’s resources are being consumed at an unsustainable rate, and this is placing in jeopardy the future of life as we know it, with potentially catastrophic consequences; (2) a small percentage of the world’s population live in relative comfort and luxury while great multitudes live in material... read more

Unleashing Transition Coburg: From Oil Dependence to Local Resilience

Greetings all – especially those of you who might live in Coburg (Melbourne), or thereabouts. I’m guessing many of you have heard of Transition Initiatives, but for those who haven’t, the basic idea is this: it doesn’t look as if our governments are going to do anything significant with respect to peak oil or climate change, or the other problems we are facing, so we are... read more

Peak Oil Can Fuel a Change for the Better

I managed to get an article on peak oil published in a mainstream newspaper today (The Age). It’s available here: Peak Oil Can Fuel a Change for the Better. Thanks to all those who came down to the talk in City Square last night. During discussion time, when the audience was throwing ideas and perspectives around, I found myself reflecting on how amazing it was that a large group of people were... read more

Peak Oil, Energy Descent, and the Fate of Consumerism

My new paper ‘Peak Oil, Energy Descent, and the Fate of Consumerism’ can be downloaded here, and it has also been published on the Energy Bulletin. I’ve reposted the abstract below. Abstract: Western-style consumer lifestyles are highly resource and energy intensive. This paper examines the energy intensity of these consumer lifestyles and considers whether such lifestyles could be... read more

Free Public Talk in Melbourne’s City Square

Greetings all, and happy new year, I’m giving a talk on peak oil and consumerism in Melbourne’s City Square this Tuesday 10 January, at 7pm. The talk will go for around 40 mins followed by about 40 mins discussion. For those of you in Melbourne, it would be great to see some of down there if you can make it.  I’ve posted an overview below and will publish the paper in a few days... read more

Ten Most Popular Posts of 2011

As the year draws to a close, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the readers of this website for their support and contributions. Our community is now over 1,000 strong, and I’m very much looking forward to exploring voluntary simplicity, and all it entails, with you in 2012. Now, more than ever before, we need to be reimagining the good life beyond consumer culture. I have plans to relaunch... read more

The Best Books I’ve Read This Year: Need Ideas for an Oppositional Xmas?

At a time when the world’s most respected scientists affirm that ordinary Western-style consumption habits are indeed destroying the planet, what attitudes should we have toward the corporate event known as Christmas? Should we still be seeking salvation through over-consumption? Or is it high time to embrace some form of enlightened material restraint? The materialistic orgy that is Christmas, of... read more

Voluntary Simplicity and Transition vs. Empire

This post is a short excerpt from a paper of mine considering the role the Simplicity and Transition Movements might play in resisting the forces of globalization and producing a degrowth or steady-state economy.  The age of globalization is upon us, and it could be that any attempt to realize a degrowth or steady-state economy will face forms of resistance today that may not have been faced as recently... read more
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