consuming our planet
30 Minuts

consuming our planet

Is another economic crisis looming? Is 3 to 4 percent GDP growth nearing an end? Many economists and analysts feel permanent growth is the only possible option. But a new movement is gaining momentum in quite a few countries. It proposes stopping the machine in order to save the planet. It is a philosophy that opposes mass consumption while calling for a return to a more laid-back lifestyle.

Is another economic crisis looming? Is 3 to 4 percent GDP growth nearing an end? Many economists and analysts feel permanent growth is the only possible option. But a new movement is gaining momentum in quite a few countries. It proposes stopping the machine in order to save the planet. It is a philosophy that opposes mass consumption while calling for a return to a more laid-back lifestyle.

The Internet has popularized a whole new vocabulary--concepts like "degrowth" "radical simplicity," "lohas," "no-impact man," "freegan," "100-mile diet" and "downshifting", concepts that reflect the need for a slower pace of life.

For many of those living in first-world countries, the spectacular economic and technological growth of the last few decades has carved out a comfortable lifestyle full of consumer items, many of which are petroleum derivatives. Private cars have become essential to daily life.

The cost for maintaining the Western lifestyle, which is being imitated in emerging countries, is just starting to be revealed. For a few decades now, we have been overexploiting our planet's limited resources. Climate change is now a widely familiar issue and major question marks are being raised about our future energy sources.

This week's "30 Minuts" presents a number of efforts being made by citizens who have decided to change their habits in order to consume less of the planet--a town in Great Britain that has banned plastic bags, an ecological farming coop near Barcelona, or residents of Bristol who get together to see how they can reduce the amount of CO2 they produce.

Interviewed in the report are noted antiglobalization economist Serge Latouche, promoter of the concept of "degrowth"; American economist Jeremy Rifkin, who talks about the need to adopt simpler lifestyles; and American journalist Richard Heinberg, who has published numerous books about how to live without fossil fuels.
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