About the Sustainable Production and Consumption theme
While much of the focus of transitioning to a new economy is on changes in government policy, business structure, banking, and financing, there remains a considerable role for individuals and households in this transition. How can we develop mutual support systems that replace our dependence on acquiring more stuff? The elegance of simplicity, the richness of community, living within the bounds of our bioregion, shorter work weeks—these are all elements of a new American Dream. TimeBanks, meta-currencies, asset-based community accounting, resilience circles are all tools for facilitating what will be a social and cultural as well as economic shift. In the process, new local forms of production emerge, involving producer and consumer working in association.
For information about the workshops, please consult our workshop page which will be updated as information becomes available.
Watch videos, read articles, and explore blogs and websites.
Richard Heinberg's Lecture, "Fifty Million Farmers"
There was a time not so long ago when famine was an expected, if not accepted, part of life. Until the nineteenth century—whether in China, France, India, or Britain—food came almost entirely from local sources, and harvests were variable. In good years there was plenty, enough for seasonal feasts and for storage in anticipation of winter and hard times to come; in bad years starvation cut down the poorest and the weakest—the very young, the old, and the sickly. Sometimes bad years followed one upon another, reducing the size of the population by several percent. This was the normal condition of life in pre-industrial societies, and it persisted for thousands of years.Today in the United States such a situation is hard to imagine. Food is so cheap and plentiful that obesity is a far more widespread concern than hunger. read more
Annie Leonard Elaborates on the Consequences of Consumerism
Kevin Lyons's Lecture, "Greening the Campus from a Procurement Perspective"
I’m going to present practical steps that you can carry out and practice every day. It’s not just about green purchasing and improving contracts. Yes, you need to understand economics—supply and demand, how business works—but you also have to consider the ethical implications: where do the products come from? What impact are they having on the university? Are we buying local? Are we engaging the local community in our struggle to bring change? read more
Juliet Schor Speaks on the Problems with Our Economic Attitude
Ivan Illich's Schumacher Lecture, "The Wisdom of Leopold Kohr"
Kohr cast his net beyond planning goals, toward the not yet, the nondum, which the poet Paul Celan places "to the north of the future." Kohr never attempted to seduce people into utopia, which is always a misplaced concreteness. He fostered a vision that could be realized because it fell within limits, it remained within reach. Kohr stood for renunciation of a ranging gaze that sought chimeras beyond the shared horizon. read more
Thinking Collectively About the Solidarity Economy with Caroline Woolard
Mutual aid is the voluntary reciprocal exchange of goods and services for mutual benefit, not haggling and bargaining for the lowest possible price. Anthropologically, bartering is more about mutual benefit than about achieving "optimal" economic returns. Shared power is about learning to take responsibility for ourselves, in groups. read more
Reducing Work Time as a Path to Sustainability
Shorter working hours allow more time for connection with friends and family, exercise and healthy eating, citizen and community engagement, attention to hobbies and educational advancement, appreciation of the natural world, personal emotional and spiritual growth, conscientious consumer habits and proper environmental stewardship.