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Vaclav Smil: ‘Growth must end. Our economist friends don’t realise that’

Over more than 40 years, Vaclav Smil has grown in influence, and is now seen as one of the world’s foremost thinkers and a master of statistical analysis. Bill Gates says he waits for new Smil books the way others wait for the next Star Wars movie. Smil’s latest is Growth: From Microorganisms to Megacities.

Why growth can’t be green

Jason Hickel, Foreign Policy: Many policymakers have responded to ecological breakdown by pushing for what has come to be called “green growth.” It sounds like an elegant solution to an otherwise catastrophic problem. There is just one hitch: New evidence suggests that green growth isn’t the panacea everyone hopes for. In fact, it’s not even possible.

Corporate lobbying: The simple reason why we can’t expect much from Bonn

With the Bonn climate talks currently underway, a new report reveals how big business has been actively undermining these crucial negotiations. The most shocking revelation is that since the beginning of United Nations-led climate change talks they have been funded by exactly the same companies that depend for their existence on the burning of fossil fuels.

Jason Hickel on BBC: Our addiction to economic growth is killing us

From BBC: A recent episode of Newsnight, BBC’s programme on ideas, had a surprising guest: Anthropologist Jason Hickel, who went on to make a case against the lethal addiction to economic growth and in its place proposed “planned de-growth”. Hickel is the author of The Divide: A Brief Guide to Global Inequality and its Solutions.

Forget ‘developing’ poor countries, it’s time to ‘de-develop’ rich countries

Jason Hickel writes: Growth isn’t an option any more–we’ve already grown too much. Scientists are now telling us that we’re blowing past planetary boundaries at breakneck speed. The hard truth is that this global crisis is due almost entirely to overconsumption in rich countries. Rich countries must “catch down” to more appropriate levels of development.

How Indians started drinking milk (and what it has cost us)

Many people think that milk is normal good food. But a large part of the world until recently never consumed the milk of other animals. Even today, Eastern Asia as a rule does not use milk. So, for some, milk is the greatest food, while for others, milk is one of the five white poisons.

Amitav Ghosh: What nutmeg can tell us about globalisation

From The New York Times: …It is impossible to imagine a world without global connections: They have always existed, and no place has escaped their formative influence. But this does not mean that there is any inherent merit in interconnectedness, which has always been accompanied by violence, deepening inequalities and the large-scale destruction of communities.

The hipster hunger for superfoods is starving India’s adivasis

Purabi Bose writes: The downside of turning quinoa, acai berries of Amazon forests, or even moringa (drumstick) into new superfoods is that urban consumers compete with indigenous peoples for food resources. Through our demand for superfoods, we push indigenous populations to eat cheaper, less nutritious, less flavourful, imported staple diets like maize, rice and wheat.

Spotlight: Millennials who’re broke, hungry, but on trend

Gayatri Jayaraman writes on India’s new ‘urban poor’, “the metro-dwelling twenty somethings who’ve internalised the pressures surrounding them, and spend a majority of their salaries on keeping up the lifestyles that they believe are essential to earning those salaries.” We present the original BuzzFeed article which went viral recently, and some of the responses it provoked.

Bookshelf: Farmageddon – The True Cost of Cheap Meat

Martin Simpson writes: It is impossible to read Farmageddon without coming to the conclusion that the world’s food and agriculture system is screwed. This is a system that produces enormous quantities of food, yet wastes up to a third of it… What it also produces is environmental disaster, ill health in humans and stressful and unhealthy animals.

The Paris Climate Talks: A Nepali View

Shail Shrestha writes at Local Futures: Technology transfer from the North to South has long been regarded as the path to a better life in less-developed regions of the world. But even the best and the most sustainable technology proposed in Paris would make Nepal less sustainable than it is today, leading us in the wrong direction.

India’s high growth rate and the price of food

Sudipto Mundle writes: India’s current high growth is organically linked to food price inflation, and the rising margin between the wholesale and retail price of food. Should we continue to celebrate India’s status as the world’s fastest growing economy, while leaving it to consumers to cope with rising food prices as best as they can?

A historic event or a fraud? Critical thoughts on the Paris Climate Accord

Climate change is just the most glaring manifestation of real and deeper causes – the growing demands of a growing world population, while our natural resource base is dwindling and the ability of nature to absorb man-made pollution is diminishing – in short, the lunatic idea that in a finite world infinite growth is possible.

Why technology cannot adequately address climate change

The developed world’s average per capita emissions are now a little more than twice the corresponding level in developing countries. But the emissions gap between rich and poor individuals, regardless of nation, has increased. And rich countries and individuals, as always, can rely on their wealth to protect them from many effects of global warming.

The false promise of economic growth

We can have it all; that is the promise of our age. We can own every gadget we are capable of imagining, without compromising Earth’s capacity to sustain us. The promise that makes all this possible is that as economies develop, they become more efficient in their use of resources. In other words, they decouple.

Video: Lord Man Parable

This video uses images and text from the book Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot which speaks to how man once lived peacefully with all of the Earth’s beauty but has quickly taken-for-granted all the resources and animals causing great environmental and sustainability issues. Hieronymus Bosch’s ghastly depictions of hell meet their match in many of the real-life images collected