So why am I blogging?

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Let me begin, Dear Reader, by explaining that this blogging business goes against my grain. In the past, I’ve been shy about expressing my opinions, especially when they imply criticism of other people’s opinions and values.

Nevertheless, I intend to speak out—as often and as forcefully as I can about the ecological impact of consumerism—because I’m convinced that our out-of-control consumption is causing the environment to unravel at an accelerating rate. If we hope to inhabit a planet that is healthy enough to afford decent lives in the decades to come, we’d better start shifting our values from maximizing consumption to nurturing living things now.

For consumption-reduction to have a significant environmental impact, a whole lot of people must make that shift. My blog alone won’t bring about the shift, of course, but, with any luck, a rapidly expanding chorus of voices will succeed in spreading the message and produce a critical mass of shifters, intent on bringing us back from the environmental brink.

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4 thoughts on “So why am I blogging?

  1. Sean Odell

    Hi Sally,
    I have a question.
    Our economy is consumption driven. How do you decrease rampant consumption and at the same time maintain full employment? In the midst of the great recession Americans are still over-consuming, though less than before the great recession. Even with this current overconsumption there is high unemployment. If consumption is cut back further what can be done about the further unemployment that will result? Would government as employer of last resort (as in modern money theory) be an answer? What work could a jobs creation program come up with that would be beneficial but not lead to consumption? Infrastructure building and repair, farming, replanting? The jobs lost due to reduced consumption would be mostly in manufacturing. Retraining would be necessary. Certainly subsidized education is an option. I believe we should consume less, and that relationships are more important than things. What are some necessary steps to change our ways smoothly without too much human displacement?

  2. Thanks for the question, Sean!

    In my book (which is currently being evaluated for publication by a group of editors, as I climb the walls), I write an entire chapter about jobs. My primary suggestion is something called Working Time Reduction. WTR would create jobs by shortening the workweek. If, for example, the full-time workweek for 4 employees were cut from 40 to 32 hours, a position for an additional worker would be created. Another idea for creating jobs is to replace machine power with muscle power–when doing so makes sense (which I suspect is more often than we generally realize).

    As I see it, we can find ways to create jobs. Jobs aren’t really the problem. The problem is getting the consumerist monkey off our collective backs. We tend to work a lot of hours because we want a lot of stuff. But if we’re going to put the brake on the unraveling of the environment and enjoy decent lives in the decades ahead, we need to shift our goals from wanting more to being satisfied with enough.

  3. Kit Croucher

    Sally — on the question of what one person can do (about just about any issue —

    John Denver — he had a great newsletter — so sad he died too young — wrote a bit of advice to someone who asked “What can I do?”

    “Not only pick up litter, but do it where and when you can be viewed.”

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