Transforming cultures: from consumerism to sustainablity

This link allows you to download free the 2010 State of the World Yearbook from the Worldwatch Institute. It addresses the key issue of the consumer culture that is in headlong conflict with ecological constraints of the entire planet.  The opening chapter by Erik Assadourian ”The rise and fall of consumer cultures” is an alarming résumé of the accelerating impact of  the spread of consumer culture on the earth’s resources. Assadourian encourages us to become ‘cultural pioneers’ who will help to lead the way to a more sustainable global culture. The CASE ( initiative’s focus on community action is an attempt to encourage such cultural pioneers. The anthology of writing on ‘the state of the world’ includes four chapters on education grouped under the heading ”Education’s New Assignment: Sustainability”. The anthology is a gold mine of pertinent and recent data relating to the predicament of Spaceship Earth and action needed. at all levels to address this predicament.

Fleeing Vesuvius: The psychological roots of resource over-consumption

The 2011 book “Fleeing Vesuvius”‘is collection of articles generally addressing the question “how can we bring the world out of the mess it finds itself in”? It deals with the evolutionary underpinnings of our aggregate behaviour as humans. Humans appear to be ‘hard-wired’ (neural habituation) to seek out increasingly available stimuli, and to compete for status. Our super-saturated consumer cultural environment now offers endless stimuli to reinforce the innate desire for status, unfortunately at the expense of ecological sustainability. This chapter was taken from an article by Nate Hagens in The Oil Drum,  a journal about energy and our future (archived in 2013). It offers an evolutionary perspective on a future (more) sustainable society.