Confronting Consumption by Thomas Princen, Michael Maniates, Ken Conca

By Thomas Princen, Michael Maniates, Ken Conca

Comforting phrases equivalent to "sustainable improvement" and "green creation" body environmental debate through stressing know-how (not eco-friendly enough), fiscal progress (not sufficient within the correct places), and inhabitants (too large). drawback approximately intake emerges, if in any respect, in benign methods; as demands eco-friendly buying or extra recycling, or for small alterations in creation approaches. Many teachers, policymakers, and reporters, actually, settle for the economists' view of intake as not anything lower than the aim of the economic system. but many folks have a , intuitive figuring out that tinkering on the margins of construction and buying won't positioned society on an ecologically and socially sustainable course.

Confronting Consumption locations intake on the heart of discussion via conceptualizing "the intake challenge" and documenting various efforts to confront it. partly 1, the ebook frames intake as an issue of political and ecological economic climate, emphasizing middle ideas of individualization and commoditization. half 2 develops the assumption of distancing and examines transnational chains of intake within the context of monetary globalization. half three describes citizen motion via neighborhood currencies, domestic energy, voluntary simplicity, "ad-busting," and product certification. jointly, the chapters suggest "cautious eating" and "better generating" as an activist and coverage reaction to environmental difficulties. The publication concludes that confronting intake needs to develop into a using concentration of latest environmental scholarship and activism.

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The systematic undermining of environmental systems fundamental to human well-being is scary stuff, though no more so than one’s own sense of personal impotence in the face of such destruction. Seuss’s clever rhyming schemes and engaging illustrations, wrapped around the twentieth-century tale of economic expansion and environmental degradation, provide safe passage through a topic we know is out there but would rather avoid. There is another reason, though, why the book is so loved. By ending with the charge to plant a tree, The Lorax echoes and amplifies an increasingly dominant, largely American response to the contemporary environmental crisis.

It is a process that sees the addition of value, not the subtraction of value, not the risks to multiple uses or to residents’ economic security or to the long-term viability of the supporting ecosystem. In sum, this simple application suggests that a consumption angle on resource-use problems—especially problems of ecological overuse— compels examination of decisions among extractors and processors that tend not to get asked from a conventional production perspective. Among these decisions are those associated with the general behaviors of restraint, that is, self-limiting behavior, and of resistance to destructive Consumption and Its Externalities 41 intrusions.

Do the benefits accrued by each actor along the material chain accumulate so as to unambiguously override the risk or loss of the ecosystem (especially if such a judgment is made in an open, well-informed forum rather than in the market)? Are future generations likely to recognize and accept the value of the trade-off: more human capital (lumber and furniture and their associated technologies) for less natural capital? These are questions of long-term sustainable resource use, not environmental improvement.

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