Sunday Nov 19, 2023

#23: Can reducing consumerism help us save the planet and find happiness. A Conversation with J.B. MacKinnon.

The United Nations panel that studies climate change found that consumption surpassed population growth as the biggest driver of resource and material use on the planet at the turn of the 21st century.  In the United States the population has increased 60% since the 1970s while the consumption of consumer items has increased 400%.  We consume 13 times more than the average person in one of the poorer countries in the world.  This means that having two children in the US is like having 20 children in of the poorer countries of the world.

J.B. MacKinnon is an award-winning journalist who has authored or co-authored five non-fiction books including the one we are discussing in today’s conversation: “The Day the World Stopped Shopping”.  MacKinnon describes his book as “a thought experiment that imagines what would happen—to our economies, our products, our planet, our selves—if we committed to consuming far fewer of the Earth’s resources.”  His work has appeared in the New Yorker, National Geographic and the Atlantic.  He is an adjunct professor of journalism at the University of British Columbia, where he teaches feature writing.

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