Peoples Geography — Reclaiming space

Creating people's geographies

Consumerism and climate change

Charging Towards the Big Melt

by Stephen Leahy

BROOKLIN, Canada, Jan 15 (IPS) – Record retail store sales during the holiday season in North America is one reason 2007 is predicted to be the hottest year on record. And it’s well past time that people began to connect the dots between what they buy and the resulting environmental impacts such as global warming, experts say.

In other words, consumption has consequences: big, nasty environmental consequences that inflict suffering mainly on the world’s poor.

READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE. Please also visit Stephen’s excellent site.

6 comments on “Consumerism and climate change

  1. sushil
    19 January, 2007

    The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

    The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature.

    Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

    Subject : In a fast society slow emotions become extinct.
    Subject : A thinking mind cannot feel.
    Subject : Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys the planet.
    Subject : Environment can never be saved as long as cities exist.

    Emotion is what we experience during gaps in our thinking.

    If there are no gaps there is no emotion.

    Today people are thinking all the time and are mistaking thought (words/ language) for emotion.

    When society switches-over from physical work (agriculture) to mental work (scientific/ industrial/ financial/ fast visuals/ fast words ) the speed of thinking keeps on accelerating and the gaps between thinking go on decreasing.

    There comes a time when there are almost no gaps.

    People become incapable of experiencing/ tolerating gaps.

    Emotion ends.

    Man becomes machine.

    A society that speeds up mentally experiences every mental slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

    A ( travelling )society that speeds up physically experiences every physical slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

    A society that entertains itself daily experiences every non-entertaining moment as Depression / Anxiety.





    To read the complete article please follow either of these links :




  2. peoplesgeography
    20 January, 2007

    Many thanks for this Sushil, and the links to the thought-provoking extended entries on this topic of civilization as end-game.

    It is true that cities pre-existed industrial civilization but that the planet has not been anywhere near urbanised as it is at present, around the 50% mark. Fewer and fewer people are living rurally.

    I also take your point about the effects of mental hyperactivity and of reinstating the importance of the emotional. (Descartes after all said “I think therefore I am”, not “I feel therefore I am” which is equally as valid). I think there needs to be a balance, and we can not obliterate the ‘thinking’ altogether (although that is what a lot of advanced meditation schools do, I understand, go ‘beyond thinking’).

    This is a most interesting and important topic and one I will endeavour to return to. I very much thank you for coming by and sharing this.

  3. Stephen
    26 February, 2007

    While I appreciate your interest in my article, you should not be posting the whole thing since that’s illegal.

    “Short quotations will usually be fair use, not copyright infringement.” – Electronic Frontier Foundation

    by the by this is an impressive and interesting site.

    Stephen Leahy

  4. peoplesgeography
    26 February, 2007

    Hi Stephen,

    Thanks for your generous comment and for letting me know. I certainly respect your declared copyright and will duly link to the article as it appears at IPS, with a quotation if that’s OK. My impression had been that posting the article constituted fair use (educational purposes) so my apologies.

    Hope that’s OK and constitutes fair use within the terms stipulated.


  5. Dave On Fire
    26 February, 2007

    It’s good that people are finally starting to take notice of the damage we are doing to our environment, and of the potential consequences to ourselves, but we’re still a long way from really taking on board how much we need to change in order to stop that balance.

    Our currencies, created from debt, drive eternal growth in consumption. To the debtor, no resource is more valuable than money, and our currencies make us all debtors. In such a society, a tree can never be worth as much as the jobs generated in chopping it down, shipping it, carving it and selling it as furniture.

    Such a society can only survive in a world that is infinite. As our infinite growth outstrips our finite resources, we will eventually reach the point of realising that we can’t eat money. The great question is, will this be before or after we start to starve to death by the billion?

    Our economic systems made sense to small European city-states and nations who wanted to increase their influence in a world large enough to be considered infinite. They no longer make sense in an overpopulated and overpolluted world.

    History has many examples of societies who remained, out of habit, with economic systems that became completely inappropriate to their environment. I listen to the justifications behind our pathetically minor restrictions on emissions and the like, and can’t help but wonder how close they are to what the Polynesian lumberjack said to himself as he cut down the last tree on Easter Island.

  6. peoplesgeography
    27 February, 2007

    Yes! About time (nay, overdue) for a radical rethink and overhaul of our anachronistic systems, lest the fate of Easter Islanders become the fate of spaceship Earth. Thanks Dave, well said.

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Timely Reminders

"Those who crusade, not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes perceptibly worse than what it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself."
-- Aldous Huxley

"The only war that matters is the war against the imagination. All others are subsumed by it."
-- Diane DiPrima, "Rant", from Pieces of a Song.

"It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there"
-- William Carlos Williams, "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower"