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Less of What We Don't Need

Stories about Less of What We Don't Need.

Life in a ‘Degrowth’ Economy, And Why You Might Actually Enjoy It

By: 
Samuel Alexander

What does genuine economic progress look like? The orthodox answer is that a bigger economy is always better, but this idea is increasingly strained by the knowledge that, on a finite planet, the economy can’t grow for ever.

But what is a steady-state economy? Why it is it desirable or necessary? And what would it be like to live in?

This California couple uses more water than all of the homes in Los Angeles

By: 
Josh Harkinson

Rafaela Tijerina first met la señora at a school in the town of Lost Hills, deep in the farm country of California’s Central Valley. They were both there for a school board meeting, and the superintendent had failed to show up. Tijerina, a 74-year-old former cotton picker and veteran school board member, apologized for the superintendent — he must have had another important meeting — and for the fact that her own voice was faint; she had cancer. “Oh no, you talk great,” the woman replied with a warm smile, before she began handing out copies of her book, Rubies in the Orchard: How to Uncover the Hidden Gems in Your Business. “To my friend with the sweet voice,” she wrote inside Tijerina’s copy.

Why mining and violence are inextricably linked

By: 
Jasper Finkeldey

Last year South Africa's bountiful Wild Coast saw the assassination of Sikhosiphi Rhadebe, activist against proposed dune mining on his homeland. The commemoration of Rhadebe who went by the name Bozooka coincided with this year's Human Rights day. At least 500 people came to stand together in solidarity to call for an end to violence under the glaring sun of the Wild Coast far off the tarred national roads.

Saluting the deceased Rhadebe, leader of the Amadiba Crisis Committee, gun shots were fired in the air giving a vivid demonstration of the sound of death that was heard on the Wild Coast a year ago. Mark Caruso, CEO of the company that applied for a permit for titanium mining on the Wild Coast had (according to local media) previously bragged in an internal email: "I am enlivened by [the] opportunity to grind all resistance to my presence."

The Growing Resistance to Megadams in Bolivia

By: 
Emily Achtenberg

Last November, representatives of 17 indigenous communities held a vigil at the site of two megadams—El Chepete and El Bala—that President Evo Morales plans to build in Bolivia’s Amazonian region. The protesters blocked access to the site by Geodata, the Italian firm hired by the government to study the dams’ feasibility. Twelve days later, Geodata’s engineers withdrew their equipment, announcing, “If there’s no [community] consensus, the conditions don’t exist for us to work.”

The Growing Resistance to Megadams in Bolivia

By: 
Emily Achtenberg

A growing resistance to the Chepete/ El Bala megadam is challenging President Evo Morales’s plan to convert Bolivia into South America’s leading energy powerhouse. 

Last November, representatives of 17 indigenous communities held a vigil at the site of two megadams—El Chepete and El Bala—that President Evo Morales plans to build in Bolivia’s Amazonian region. The protesters blocked access to the site by Geodata, the Italian firm hired by the government to study the dams’ feasibility. Twelve days later, Geodata’s engineers withdrew their equipment, announcing, “If there’s no [community] consensus, the conditions don’t exist for us to work.”

The Slow Confiscation of Everything

By: 
Laurie Penny

Climate change is a different prospect of calamity—not just elementally but morally different from nuclear exchange in a manner which has not been properly dealt with. The first difference is that it’s definitely happening. The second is that it’s not happening to everyone. For anyone who grew up in the Cold War, the apocalypse was a simple yes-no question: either it was coming, or it wasn’t. Many people I know who grew up before the end of the nuclear arms race describe this as oddly freeing: there was the sense that since the future might explode at any point, it was not worth the effort of planning. Climate change is  species collapse by a thousand cuts. There will be no definite moment we can say that yes, today we are fucked, and yesterday we were unfucked. Instead the fuckery increases incrementally year on year, until this is the way the world ends: not with a bang, not with a bonfire, but with the slow and savage confiscation of every little thing that made you human, starting with hope.

Utopia: Work less play more

By: 
Madeleine Ellis-Petersen

According to the latest YouGov poll, more than one in four of us work longer hours than we want to. The UK tops the European long hours league, and research published by the TUC in 2015 revealed that the number of people working over 48 hours a week had increased by 15 per cent since 2010. In a culture of overwork (and, in an increasing number of cases, underpay) most of us feel that we have no choice but to work longer and longer hours.

But across the world a growing number of people, organisations and even countries are bucking this trend and recognising the value of a shorter working week.

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