We are quickly depleting the Earth of its natural resources. We build things and make things, and then we throw those things away—and that waste has grave consequences of ecosystem health. Our individual behavior has to change, but if we’re serious about fixing things we must acknowledge that large corporations are disproportionately responsible for planetary destruction. We have to make a change in our broader culture of consumption.
From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world.
This paper by Richard Smith is one of many proposals for a systemic alternative we have published or will be publishing here at the Next System Project. Smith suggests that changing our entire economic paradigm is the only way to fully combat massive and rapid planetary destruction.
Michelle Chen writes that our obsession with style rivals our hunger for oil, making fashion the world’s second-most polluting industry after the oil industry. Our clothes are something that we often neglect when we’re thinking about contribution to our footprint on this finite planet. A wellbeing economy supports sustainable fashion practices—local production, small stores, less consumption.