"Our whole retail model over the last 50 years has focused on keeping the industrial machine churning out items," said Ruben, who until 2007 had an up-close view as the head of sustainability at Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the king of mass-produced goods. "But if my friend already has shinguards that he's not using, I don't need to buy them for myself."
...Instead of trying to shrink a product's environmental footprint from the production side by making it with less material, advocates — especially clothing and shoe companies — are trying to extend its usefulness on the consumer end.
Retailers such as Hello Rewind are selling goods and products reworked from discarded scraps. Textile makers are experimenting with longer-lasting fabrics. Some businesses are asking shoppers to scale back their buying.
"It fits perfectly with the new movement toward sustainability in the fashion industry," said British designer Orsola de Castro, whose From Somewhere brand is considered an eco-apparel pioneer. "Hyper production and the sheer availability of cheap clothing has made us forget the value of maintaining and repurposing clothes and textiles."
Companies like Yerdle advocate for collective consumerism or a sharing economy, as reported in the Los Angeles Times. Yerdle allows people to offer goods they no longer use to friends, while other companies are focusing on extending the useful lifetime of goods or make them from scrap materials.
G-Dog ("Nothing stops a bullet like a job"), a movie about Fr. Greg Boyle, S.J. and Homeboy Industries is now available on DVD.
You can also read an excellent in-depth article about Boyle from the May 2012 issue of Fast Company.
Pope Francis forcefully denounced an idolatrous culture based on money, highlighting consumption, a "culture of disposal," the rich-poor gap, and lack of financial ethics. The Catholic News Service reports:
Pope Francis called for global financial reform that respects human dignity, helps the poor, promotes the common good and allows states to regulate markets.
Postconsumers.com offers articles and other resources for living simpler, more satisfied lives. They are also promoting their new book, Get Satisfied.
Postconsumers is an educational company helping to move society beyond addictive consumerism. We are consuming mindfully with an eye toward the satisfaction of enough. In other words, we advocate mindful consumption based on every person’s core values, rather than an endless quest for stuff driven by society. It’s up to each person to decide what’s right for him or her at any particular time. Whether postconsumers choose to be satisfied with a little or a lot, they are all wealthy in their contentment.
A year's waste produced by Johnson's family.
Bea Johnson's new book, Zero Waste Home, tells how her family of four moved toward living more simply and sustainably, ultimately reducing their annual waste to what would fit in a quart-sized jar. They use a "five R's" system:
In the San Francisco Chronicle, she says after some experimentation to find the right balance, the shift felt right, became natural, and saved them a lot of money.
"We wanted to live the American Dream: buy a big house, drive a big car," she recalls. "We rode that wave for a while, but having stuff didn't make us happier."
In this TED talk, Bono outlines the substantial progress that has been made toward reducing poverty and how trends point toward eradicate poverty in our lifetime, if we remain committed to that goal.
Human beings have been campaigning against inequality and poverty for 3,000 years. But this journey is accelerating. Bono "embraces his inner nerd" and shares inspiring data that shows the end of poverty is in sight … if we can harness the momentum.
VentureBeat writes about the choice for software developers between lucrative companies that are just out to make a buck and new trendsetters "characterized by morality, creativity, craftsmanship, and purposed problem solving." Other employees, investors, reporters, educators, and consumers can also influence these choices.
Oftquoted founder Jeff Hammerbacher put it this way: “The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads. That sucks.”
But there are a growing number joining a "maker" culture that is focused on making a difference:
We face, as a society, incredible challenges in the coming decades: balancing social justices like healthcare with a disappearing middle class to pay for it; competing in a global market; generating better energy solutions; ensuring clean water access for large populations; solving health issues that shorten life; moving our planet towards a more sustainable environment; creating organizations and systems of management more in harmony with the human spirit; and many more.
Entrepreneur offers a short article titled "The Secret To Saving: Think Before You Spend." While it does not address the important topic of giving money away, it focuses on being thoughtful and intentional about spending. It also reminds us, as Jesus did, that it's okay to splurge sometimes.
"Being a conscious spender is about making your money match up with your values guilt-free. It's about spending extravagantly on the things you love while cutting costs mercilessly on the things you don't." -- Ramit Sethi, author of I Will Teach You to Be Rich
In under five minutes, Hill Harper touches on what's wrong with our society's approach to money: the taboo about discussing income, fixation on projecting an image of wealth, and what true wealth values can be.