The creation of the consumer economy—a complex, interconnected system of institutions, goals, rewards, and punishments—was one of the great social projects of the twentieth century, when energy was cheaply abundant and two of our chief economic problems were overproduction and unemployment. The transition to 100% renewable energy raises some key questions for the future of consumer culture and consumption-based economies. For instance:
- What are the prospects of the consumer economy in this century, when we are changing our energy sources and also dealing with climate change, water scarcity, resource depletion, and overpopulation?
- How will we create jobs if we’re not constantly expanding consumption?
- What’s the future of advertising?
- What are some of the best practices related to reducing consumption and waste that can serve as models as we move forward?
On June 30, 2016, Asher Miller and Richard Heinberg from Post Carbon Institute were joined by Annie Leonard (Greenpeace and Story of Stuff) and John de Graaf (Take Back Your Time, The Happiness Alliance) for a lively, free-flowing conversation about what the future of consumerism might look like in a 100% renewable energy future. The recording can be viewed below.
Photo credit: joyfull/Shutterstock.com.