A Critique of Techno-Optimism: Efficiency without Sufficiency is Lost

I have been doing some work recently with the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, and have just published the first of a number of working papers, entitled “A Critique of Techno-Optimism: Efficiency without Sufficiency is Lost”. An abstract is posted below and the full paper is available here. ABSTRACT: “Technological optimists believe that humanity will be able to solve environmental problems... read more

Simple Living in the City

The Sustainable Living Festival is coming up again in Melbourne (Feb 8-23). I’ve posted some details below about some simplicity related events, as well as a call out for anyone who might be able to help volunteer for an hour or two on one of the days. Sustainable Living Festival stall – volunteers needed The Simplicity Institute and Greg Foyster (author of a book about simple living, Changing... read more

Book Reviews of “The Hidden Door” by Mark Burch

Below I’ve posted two book reviews of Mark A. Burch’s latest book, The Hidden Door: Mindful Sufficiency as an Alternative to Extinction. Book Review: The Hidden Door: Mindful Sufficiency as an Alternative to Extinction, by Mark A. Burch Reviewed by: Rodney Kueneman, Associate Professor, Sociology, University of Manitoba. Reading and reflecting on this book provides an opportunity for a... read more

A Limits to Growth Critique of the Radical Left

I am pleased to announce the publication of Ted Trainer’s insightful new Simplicity Institute Report, “A Limits to Growth Critique of the Radical Left: The Need to Embrace the Simpler Way”. Not only does this essay present a powerful challenge to the strategies typically embraced by the radical left, Trainer prefaces his substantive analysis with a pithy restatement of the ‘limits to growth’... read more

Natural Building Workshop – March 2014

There’s a two week natural building workshop coming up this March, an hour and a half out of Melbourne. For those interested, details below: Agari Farm and Mud Mob Natural Building Collective are running a 2 week natural building and healing workshop in March aiming to teach people to build low cost homes with natural and reclaimed materials (Earthbag, Cob, Wattle and Daub, Light Earth, Reciprocal... read more

Voluntary Simplicity and the Steady State Economy

Mark A. Burch of the Simplicity Institute has just published this fine article in The Daly News (CASSE). Voluntary simplicity is most basically characterized by the practices of mindfulness and material sufficiency. Through bringing mindfulness to our daily lives, we seek the maximum of well-being achievable through the minimum of material consumption. Well-being applies to all life forms on Earth, not... read more

Radical Emissions Planning: Kevin Anderson

I’ve just watched these two clips below from Kevin Anderson, one of the most outspoken climate scientists on the scene today. As you will see, he does not shy away from radical implications of the numbers. Avoiding dangerous climate change, he concludes, requires degrowth in the wealthiest parts of the world, a conclusion other climate scientists (or any policy makers) have dared not acknowledge. But... read more

The Deep Green Alternative: Debating Strategies of Transition

I am pleased to begin this new year with the publication of a new Simplicity Institute Report, entitled ‘The Deep Green Alternative: Debating Strategies of Transition,’ co-written by myself (Samuel Alexander) and Jonathan Rutherford. This report is freely available here, and a brief overview of the report is posted below: In this paper we do not seek to defend, as such, the ‘deep green’... read more

Crash on Demand: David Holmgren Publishes New Simplicity Institute Report

David Holmgren, co-orginator of the permaculture concept, has just published a new Simplicity Institute Report, entitled ‘Crash on Demand: Welcome to the Brown Tech Future’. Fascinating, deep, and provocative, the introduction is posted below and the full report is available here.  Crash On Demand Welcome to the Brown Tech Future                                          ... read more

A New Earthship has Landed!

A month or so ago I posted about the Earthship-inspired building workshop I was organising, as part of the ecovillage project outlined here. As you can see in the pictures, the build was a resounding success, with our new ‘mini-ship’ landing last week. This is the first of many alternative buildings we’ve got in the pipeline, with a more conventional mud house being built this coming... read more

Building with Mud: Workshop in February 2014

I wrote recently about the Earthship workshop that I’m organising and participating in this coming December, as part of the ecovillage project which I’ve written about here. I’m happy to say that I’ve also just locked in a 6-day mud building workshop in February next year, with the amazingly talented and creative Kate from the Mudmob Natural Building Collective. She’s just... 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

Want to help build an Earthship?

Earthship Workshop in December (Victoria, Australia) A couple of months ago I wrote about the ecovillage project that I am involved in, a project that is based on the vision of radical simplicity expressed in Entropia. I am uber excited to announce that our first build for the ecovillage is going to be an Earthship-inspired ‘mini-ship’, taking place this December in Victoria, Australia. Want to be... 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
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