Less and Local
A week ago, the International Forum on Globalization put on a three day teach in entitled "Confronting the Global Triple Crisis - Climate Change, Peak Oil, Global Resource Depletion & Extinction" in Washington, D.C. The teach-in also introduced the "Manifesto on Global Economic Transitions" by the IFG and the Institute for Policy Studies.
The Manifesto's theme was "less and local," stressing the need to turn aways from the consumer society; buy fewer things and buy locally made things.
"Less and local" is a direct challenge to the globalized economic system, rooted in continual, exponential growth, combined with unrestrained exploitation of natural resources. Globalization has given us a near universal culture of consumerism while destroying traditional societies that practiced more sustainable ways of living.
The corporate response to these growing concerns has been to market "green consumerism," selling items that pedal an environmental appeal by donating money to environmental groups which will offset the greenhouse gasses created in making the product.
The problem is that this solution does nothing to slow the exploitation of natural resources with its consequent devastation of the land.
In Europe, a new production analysis is gaining hold, called "life-cycle assessment" which examines the materials and processes that go into making a product to gain a true picture of its environmental footprint, and hopefully to reinvent the production cycle as a zero waste process.
The "less and local" philosphy is an important first step toward a powered-down, zero waste economy. It is a necessary replacement to the shopping mentality that reigns today.