Simply put, environmental problems are social problems. The way we behave as consumers and producers directly and indirectly affects the health of our Earth’s ecosystems. Thus, what we buy when we are at the supermarket, convenience store or restaurant is a a very essential step in adopting a sustainable lifestyle.
In America, our lives and livelihoods are controlled by stuff or the pursuit of more stuff; cars, houses, jewelry, clothing, electronics, etc. Many times the more we have does not necessarily mean that we are happier–many times it is just the opposite. Advertising and Public Relations firms would have us believe that the more we consume the more popular, more content, and more stable our lives will be. But, the websites below offer a different story and several solutions to try out.
The Simple Living Network
A great place to start. This website offers tools, examples and contacts for conscious, simple, healthy and restorative living. Their goal is to provide detailed information about everything presented: who created it, why they created it, how they created it, how you can best use it, and what using it means for the future generations who will inherit this fragile planet.
They provide The Web Of Simplicity where you will find a comprehensive introduction to the simple living movement. It is organized in a logical, step-by-step manner to help you zero in on the materials and approach most appropriate for you.
United Nations Environment Program: Production and Consumption Branch, Sustainable Consumption Website
UNEP’s Sustainable Consumption (SC) programme focuses on understanding the forces that drive consumption patterns around the world and how to translate those findings into tangible activities for business (including the advertising industry) and other stakeholders. UNEP’s SC programme started in 1998 and its primary objective is to explore underlying needs of consumption patterns, both in developed and developing countries, and to use these as sources of innovation for business, governments and NGO’s. They have separate projects for advertising, consumer guidlines, eco-design, and youth.
The Centre for Sustainable Consumption
The Centre for Sustainable Consumption was established to respond to the need for greater understanding of sustainable consumption. Its research focuses on consumer behaviour and the environmental impact of household goods.
Adbusters Media Foundation
Adbusters offers incisive philosophical articles as well as activist commentary from around the world addressing issues ranging from genetically modified foods to media concentration. In addition, their annual social marketing campaigns like Buy Nothing Day and TV Turnoff Week have made them an important activist networking group.
Ultimately, though, Adbusters is an ecological magazine, dedicated to examining the relationship between human beings and their physical and mental environment. They advocate for a world in which the economy and ecology resonate in balance. They try to coax people from spectator to participant in this quest. They try to get folks mad about corporate disinformation, injustices in the global economy, and any industry that pollutes our physical or mental commons in order for them to take action.
100 ways to escape affluenza
Af-flu-en-za n. 1. The bloated, sluggish and unfulfilled feeling that results from efforts to keep up with the Joneses. 2. An epidemic of stress, overwork, waste and indebtedness caused by dogged pursuit of the American Dream. 3. An unsustainable addiction to economic growth. 4. A television program that could change your life.
PBS has produced a wonderful website that accompanys their one hour documentary titled Affluenza. The website helps people ‘escape’ affluenza in their home and hearth and work, as well as provide methods to deal with kids, money, shopping, food and transportation. They also have a great affluenza quiz.
Real Goods’ vision is multi-faceted. Since their inception in 1978, they have tried to change the way America does business by espousing the traditional values of integrity, honesty, friendliness, wise resource use, and ingenuity. Since thier business began by serving the needs of rural homesteaders in what was called the “back-to-the-land movement” in the late 1970’s, the Company has always strived to find and deliver appropriate technologies to its customers.
Recognizing that the world’s dependence upon fossil fuels has invariably led to the degradation of our atmosphere and environment, they have strived to demonstrate the need and practicality for renewable energy technologies that are clean, cost-effective, and non-polluting. They are an information company that recognizes that “knowledge is our most important product.” They have observed and are greatly encouraged to see the landscape of consciousness rapidly changing in the world at the dawn of the 21st Century where the values of healthy living, clean air, clean water, minimization of resources, and energy efficiency are integral to the new paradigm. They strive to maintain innovation, friendliness, integrity, and most of all authenticity which values walking the walk and shunning the hyperbole and disingenuity that has become commonplace in American business.
Gaiam was created as a lifestyle company with the vision that, given a choice, people would choose a lifestyle that is healthy and life enhancing, for themselves, their families and the Earth. The Gaiam lifestyle is a vote for individual health as well as the future sustainability of the the Earth’s resources. Gaiam strives to provide customers with alternatives to traditional products by offering natural, eco-friendly or healthy versions that compare with the style, quality and price of conventional products.
They also have a very helpful learning center about ways to make your lifestyle more sustainable:http://www.gaiam.com/retail/gai_content/learn/gai_learnHome.asp
Since 2003 ReusableBags.com has been a major force providing facts and news on the global push to reduce plastic and paper bag consumption. Plus, simple actions you can take to help the cause. As part of the solution our store features a wide range of reusable shopping bags and other innovative, practical products all designed to help people consume less, preserve natural resources and save money too.