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Consumerism and Sustainability  RSS feed

 
gardener
Posts: 856
Location: Ohio, USA
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I think that some companies get their panties all in a bunch at sustainability and especially permaculture. Like *gasp* these people don't need to buy our shtuff!!
So, I feel like I need to make a post clarifying that sustainability and permaculture doesn't mean the end of capitalism necessarily or the end of people buying shtuff. It's just different shtuff.

Take Amazon for instance. (I know, big bad Amazon). On the other hand, this is where almost all my cloth diapers came from, my reusable snack bags, some of my bulk items for natural skin-care products. Because this stuff is specialty, I can't buy them locally, so Amazon is making big bucks on me being more sustainable. And yes, the boxes and paper packaging help keep us warm in winter.

Amazon isn't the only winners. To change from a hideously unsustainable culture to a sustainable one requires the right gear: like a pressure canner or insulation for your old home. Maybe someone to install the insulation. There is big money and consumerism that can be attached to this transition. If it was popularized, boy, this fad could easily sustain company incomes for at least the next generation.

Now, let's say we all get to "sustainable," I think there will still be monies to be earned but, rather than most money going to basic necessities, it will fall to things people want: art, culture, entertainment, education, travel, and exotics (like cinnamon and dates in Ohio). And people would have more free money to buy that sort of stuff, if they want, rather than just making ends meet. There would be less needed to hord money, because you need less for a rainy day because systems would have non-monetary back-ups, which means more buying potential.

Thus, sustainability can be very much capitalistic and therefore consumeristic, and in my opinion, companies and their trolls working to stop sustainability are undermining their own potential gains that, with good investment, they can capitalize on and make big bucks at.
 
gardener
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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I'm pretty sure that many companies are keen to get in on the action. Whenever I turn on my computer, I'm inundated with ads for cordless electric tools, solar panels and other equipment. The machinery has been keeping track of my searches and purchases. I've seen more than enough ads for tools that I already own, but at least they're not trying to sell me Hair Replacement.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2385
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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To me permaculture means
Less centralized production, more onsite production from the natural world. (plants make nitrogen onsite, I don't have to mine crude oil/make/ship/etc)
It means more permanent/self-sustaining system. I build a swale once to harvest-hold/release slowly vs, importing water to the site

However it also means that I am going to get a $10,000 solar electric system good for 25yr that is a on-site "permanent/prepaid/self-managed" vs the usual offsite $100/month offsite/centralized/externally-managed/postpaid electric system

They both end up with me spending money, just different set of people get my money. Either way I am going to spend money, but in certain ways I will spend less with on-site production because technically the government doesn't require me to report the hours I spend doing my own installation/production/management/planning/continuing education of my own system.

Alot of the money that I would usually give to the middle man, I now save by doing it myself but then that means that I have to educate myself. I also make some saving because I have to self-insure myself with layer of redundancy.

I feel that with the possibility of less and less jobs being available in the future not due to off-shoring but due to on-shore automation we will have less money to be a consumer and we will have to do more localized/on-site production, but I could be wrong.
 
pollinator
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Location: Anjou ,France
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I think most of us will still have to buy stuff but the volume of purchases is going to go down and down and the costs of transport might start going up and up as a concequence :-)
It will be the end of consumerism as we know it :-) but not the end of consumerism .

David
 
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