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Buy Nothing Day

November 29, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Guest Author

Examining the Issue of Over-Consumption

from Wikipedia

Buy Nothing Day is an international day of protest against consumerism. In North America, Buy Nothing Day is held the Friday after U.S. Thanksgiving (November 29, 2013; November 28, 2014; November 27, 2015); elsewhere, it is held the following day, which is the last Saturday in November. Buy Nothing Day was founded in Vancouver by artist Ted Dave and subsequently promoted by Adbusters magazine, based in Canada.

The first Buy Nothing Day was organized in Canada in September 1992 “as a day for society to examine the issue of over-consumption.” In 1997, it was moved to the Friday after American Thanksgiving, also called ”Black Friday,” which is one of the ten busiest shopping days in the United States. In 2000, advertisements by Adbusters promoting Buy Nothing Day were denied advertising time by almost all major television networks except for CNN. Soon, campaigns started appearing in the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, Austria,Germany, New Zealand, Japan, the Netherlands, France, and Norway. Participation now includes more than 65 nations. (more…)

Bija Swaraj

October 08, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Pancho McFarland

Seed-Saving as Self-Determination and Resistance

by Pancho McFarland

Gardeners at the Roseland Community Peace Garden have committed to the principles of bija swaraj, which is the principle of seed self-rule or seed democracy. They are also committed to bija satyagraha or non-cooperation with the powerful corporate seed machines and unjust laws and legal structures that benefit transnational corporations at the expense of the planet.  This summer at the Outdoor CommUnity Classroom at the Peace Garden, gardeners discussed international movements for food sovereignty and food autonomy, especially as detailed by Vandana Shiva in her numerous works and how this related to the their situations in the U.S. inner city. (more…)

Planetary Emergency

May 28, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Kent Shifferd

‘We Need to Invent a New Way of Life’

by Kent Shifferd

We humans are facing a perfect storm of crises of our own making that could bring a sudden and ugly end to the way of life we have known, but we are not paying attention.

We are all focused on small things — our jobs, the fate of our favorite sports team, the price of gas, the latest clothing fad, the newest app for our smartphone.  For most of us our view is too limited, too narrow and too confined to the present moment. We are looking down at our feet when we should be looking up and outward to the future. We are happily oblivious to the one big thing that will determine our fate. Without realizing it, we stand on the brink of a planetary emergency brought on by our pride and our ignorance. (more…)

Mired in Irony

November 23, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Chellis Glendinning, Culture, Ecology, Economy

The Luddite Rebellion, 1811-1813 to 2011-2013* 

by Chellis Glendinning

Native peoples in earlier centuries were stymied when they tried to talk about the European conquest; their pre-Columbian vocabularies had no words to describe such a battering. And it’s like that again. You and I can only peg together language to describe the invasion overwhelming our bodies, psyches, and cultures by technology. And that assault, taken together with the economic/political institutions that fuel it, is swiftly diminishing life’s future on this Earth.

Back in the 1980s and ’90s, I thought I had a few words. I was part of a society of activists and thinkers collaborating to refurbish the analysis of technology that the original resisters against industrialism, the Luddites, had initiated. We were a lively collection of folks from countries all over the world. (more…)

Bioplastics

October 26, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Sarah (Steve) Mosko

Are They Really a Solution?

by Sarah (Steve) Mosko

Bioplastics are simply plastics derived from renewable biomass sources, like plants and microorganisms, whereas conventional plastics are synthesized from non-renewable fossil fuels, either oil or natural gas. It’s a common misconception, however, that a bioplastic necessarily breaks down better in the environment than conventional plastics.

Bioplastics are nevertheless marketed as being better for the environment, so how do they really compare?

The Problems with Petroleum-Based Plastics

The push to develop bioplastics emerges from alarming realities starting with the staggering quantity of plastics being produced, over 20 pounds a month for every U.S. resident, according to the latest numbers from the American Chemistry Council. Conventional plastics do not biodegrade (defined below) within any meaningful human timescale — they just break apart into smaller plastic fragments. This means that, except for a tiny fraction of plastic that is combusted for energy production, all plastic eventually ends up as trash, either in landfills or as litter. (more…)

Debranding

July 06, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Sarah (Steve) Mosko

Creative New Movement Takes on Consumerism

by Sarah (Steve) Mosko

Thinking of tossing out a brand name shirt, handbag or backpack purchased with zeal last year but now seems so yesterday? Well, don’t. Debrand it instead to give it renewed life and do the environment a favor too.

What better symbols of the culture of consumerism than branding and logos. Marketers use these visuals in relentless campaigns to convince us that their brand of this or that is more desirable than the rest and that we can’t, and shouldn’t, live without it.

Marketers are not much interested, however, in what happens to all the frivolous extras and redundancies we amass once our attention shifts to the next brand or model that catches our fancy.

Older purchases which have lost their allure may collect dust for a while in a closet, or might even be given a second life if donated to charity, but either way likely end up as fodder for landfills. (more…)

Continuing the Conversation

June 26, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Politics, Robert C. Koehler

On God, Money, and Planet Earth

by Robert C. Koehler

Earth hovers on the brink of ecological catastrophe — actually, 20 years closer to the brink than it was at the first global climate summit, in 1992.

“Deserts continue to expand. The loss of plant and animal species has accelerated…. And greenhouse gases have continued to build up in the atmosphere,” the Los Angeles Times explains. No matter that, 20 years ago, most nations of the world “signed off on a long list of goals and agreements” designed to ensure a different future. Nothing came of it.

And my sense is that no one expects the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development, a.k.a.  Rio+20, which began last week, with representatives from 190 countries attending, to make any difference in our disastrous drift ever more deeply into unsustainability … because nothing can make a difference. We’re stuck, apparently, in a system that won’t be constrained by international goals and agreements, which are already compromises to that system. No matter that this is a life-devouring system that serves the interests of the very few — and at best serves them temporarily. No matter that more and more people see the insanity of this system. There seems to be no escape from it. (more…)


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