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Less of What We Don't Need

Stories about Less of What We Don't Need.

Staving Off the Coming Global Collapse

By: 
William E. Rees

‘Overshoot’ is when a species uses resources faster than can be replenished. We’re already there. And show no signs of changing.

Humans have a virtually unlimited capacity for self-delusion, even when self-preservation is at stake.

The scariest example is the simplistic, growth-oriented, market-based economic thinking that is all but running the world today. Prevailing neoliberal economic models make no useful reference to the dynamics of the ecosystems or social systems with which the economy interacts in the real world.

After Peak Oil, Are We Heading Toward Social Collapse?

By: 
Sally Dugman

Several years ago, Glen Sweetnam, director of the International, Economic and Greenhouse Gas division of the Energy Information Administration at the Department of Energy (DOE), announced that worldwide oil availability had reached a “plateau.” However, his statement was not made known through a major US mainstream media outlet. Instead, it was covered in France’s Le Monde.

The Myth of Drug Expiration Dates

By: 
Marshall Allen

Hospitals and pharmacies are required to toss expired drugs, no matter how expensive or vital. Meanwhile the FDA has long known that many remain safe and potent for years longer.

The box of prescription drugs had been forgotten in a back closet of a retail pharmacy for so long that some of the pills predated the 1969 moon landing. Most were 30 to 40 years past their expiration dates — possibly toxic, probably worthless.

But to Lee Cantrell, who helps run the California Poison Control System, the cache was an opportunity to answer an enduring question about the actual shelf life of drugs: Could these drugs from the bell-bottom era still be potent?

From Growth to Degrowth: A Brief History

By: 
Genevieve Azam

With economic and financial globalization, the integration of the world markets is said to be what will achieve development, which often involves countries assuming massive debts and making huge payments to service them. These, in turn, drive forced growth to guarantee repayment. It is thus no longer about balancing the three pillars of sustainable development – growth, social justice and the sustainability of the planet – but rather entrusting the task of caring for society and the Earth to the economy and the market.

How Local, Grassroots Organizing Drove El Salvador’s Mining Ban

By: 
Yevgeniya Yatsenko and Sebastian Rosemont

Amid a natural gas boom, could U.S. activists ever dream of a national ban on fracking? If it seems impossible, they should look to the south for inspiration.

On March 29, the small Central American nation of El Salvador passed a total ban on metal mining. The historic vote on the law was unanimous, bridging strong partisan divides, and was the culmination of more than a decade of activism, coalition building, and direct political participation by the people of El Salvador.

Planting the Seeds of Degrowth in Times of Crisis

By: 
Marula Tsagkari

We must look for man wherever we can find him. When on his way to Thebes Oedipus encountered the Sphinx, his answer to its riddle was: ‘Man’. That simple word destroyed the monster. We have many monsters to destroy. Let us think of the answer of Oedipus.

These words are from the Greek Poet Giorgos Seferis’ speech at the Nobel Banquet. Today they are more relevant than ever, as humanity fights against a ‘contemporary Sphinx’: the utopian ideal of an infinite growth defined by economic indicators and theories. This Promethean way of living has sustained the idea that increased wealth was the ‘one pill to cure them all.’

How Do You Degrow An Economy, Without Causing Chaos?

By: 
Jonathan Rutherford

‘Houston, we have a problem’. On the one hand, there is growing acceptance among environmentally conscious people that rich nations and affluent regions of the global economy must dramatically reduce overall resource and energy consumption levels – that is, undergo a process of ‘degrowth’ – if humanity is to bring about a sustainable world order. On the other hand, we have a growth economy that cannot go two steps in this direction without causing huge economic and social problems.

And The Minds of Children Closed

By: 
Richard Martin Oxman

Schools are still shills for our collective addiction to belief in technological fixes as a decent approach to addressing climate change issues. That’s one reason to home school, among many. But my informal survey of home schooling parents nationwide has revealed that virtually no one is teaching youth that only a no-growth vision of economics can possibly give us a shot at planetary survival. And so it goes, the three-way marriage between education, technology and the proverbial bottom line. Bottom of the barrel is more like it.

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