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Study: When Human Consumption Slows, Planet Earth Can Heal


Study: When Human Consumption Slows, Planet Earth Can Heal

Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Despite the oft-repeated claim that the recent decline in U.S. carbon emissions was due to the so-called 'fracking boom,' new research published Tuesday shows that it was the dramatic fall in consumption during the Great Recession that deserves credit for this drop.


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Don’t buy 1st, reuse 2nd recycle 3rd. Go bernie!


People want alternatives not to go paleo-tech! If there were alternatives to every polluting, fossil fuel using, unhealthy, planet destroying ‘toy’ people would choose that toy. If we had ALL electric automotive industry then people would drive electric and never give it a second thought but we don’t !

It isn’t so much that people need to give up things they like it is that people need to be given better alternatives. If everybody used plastic bags that were big-degradable and maybe even fertilizer for the soil then there would be no problem using or disposing of those bags. If people used solar on their roofs there would be no problem with them running their air conditioners on high etc.

People would do what’s right but they aren’t given the chance to do what is right that I can see.


It would seem we should be able to continue to consume (and thereby prevent a total economic collapse) but in a responsible way. The authors of ‘Cradle to Cradle’ suggest we remake the way we make things where virtually everything is recyclable. This could be a win-win-win if we could get past the vested interest (i.e. the politics of it).


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Yes, Buy Nothing Day could be a real BOYCOTT… for a day a week or more… we could shut down the captialist system, with the 'threat of mass boycott… maybe then the PTB will begin to understand that the ridiculous TWEAKING of our system and realize that WE ARE SERIOUS ABOUT SAVING OUR PLANET…

We cannot just sit by and allow the death of our planet… as human beings, not consumers… we need to “JUST SAY NO TO SHOPPING”…

P.S. If there was really something you need …you can always buy second hand… I think there is enough “stuff” to go around…
…and one really important consumer product to STOP BUYING is gold and silver jewelry… IF YOU REALLY WANT IT …BUY SECOND HAND… there should be no more mining of the stuff…


andorarike -
I agree up to a point but since the infrastructure is already here and the familiarity with cars and trucks nearly universal it would seem wiser to concentrate on removing just the pollution rather than attempting to change the lifestyle and technology while also removing the pollution.

Changing over to an electric motor powered vehicle (say five hundred pounds instead of a ton?) could be done though, instead of internal combustion and would be far easier than doing anything else. Sheer economics would guarantee further improvements until we’d have cars and trucks that are virtually indistinguishable from the gasoline powered ones we use now except that they don’t pollute or waste resources and cost less etc.

The ideal is something to shoot for later but at this point in the global warming game, pragmatism trumps idealism. We need to stop fossil fuel use. Anyway that does that is a priority… making it perfect comes later.


The upsurge in urban gardening is the most hopeful change I’ve seen in recent years. It reduces the transportation cost for our food. It reduces the CO2 and replenishes the urban atmosphere with oxygen. It reconnects us to the earth, providing a healthy activity for individuals, families and communities working together. It reduces food cost and food waste, and often provides fresh fruits and vegetables for people living in urban “food deserts” abandoned by major grocery stores.

28 Inspiring Urban Agriculture Projects



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Reducing human consumption will help, but along with that, there must be a huge reduction in the number of people on this planet.
With another 4 billion people projected to be on the planet by the end of this century, even if the average person consumed 25% less, it’s not going to make much difference.


It is a struggle of personal choice to determine if we should consume less or consume “wiser”. I think there is merit in both arguments, and obviously the less we consume the less resource we use, so now we just have to convince some of our fellow neanderthals that “Bigger is NOT better”, and that "More is NOT good, nor a sign of “success”. I know, I know-good luck with THAT one!


i prefer this one:

“Buy nothing that you do not NEED.”


I didn’t see any mention of population growth in the analysis. Maybe the decline in carbon would have been more if we had not added 560 million more humans to the planet since 2007. A decline in our numbers and our consumption and use of energy is essential if we are going to save civilization. I don’t see this issue on the radar of many.
The GOP fools in congress are cutting Title X funding of family planning as well as funding for international family planning. Both are already seriously underfunded.


Perhaps you can “[sustain] economic growth” in a green economy, but what does “growth” entail?

If it’s to be equated with consumption, aren’t we talking about continued consumerism, with the attendant giant sucking sound of natural resource depletion, accompanied by the pungent aroma of persistent pollution and mountainous mounds of waste?

The thought seems to be that we can’t go on the way we have, if we want to go on with the ways we have.

Highly illogical, Captain.


Only issue is our consumption items came from Asia…and we did not have jobs…could that produce less carbon in the USA?..just a thought…


The United States Armed Forces are one of the largest if not the largest contributors of carbon pollution on this planet-

“According to its own study, in 2013 the Pentagon consumed fuel equivalent to 90,000,000 barrels of crude oil. This amounts to 80% of the total fuel usage by the federal government. If burned as jet fuel it produces about 38,700,000 metric tons of CO2. And the Pentagon’s figures do not include carbon produced by the thousands of bombs dropped in 2013, or the fires that burned after the jets and drones departed.
Corporate media reports on alarming climate change never mention the Pentagon. Newspapers and television stations run puff pieces on air shows like the Navy’s Blue Angels without noting that the jets from a typical show generate about 300,000 pounds of CO2 into the air. A photographer at the Great Maine Air Show in 2012 captured a runway covered with a wall of flames that organizers said was a “simulated bombing.” Carbon generated by burning napalm for entertainment? Unknown”.


Yes, about 30% of China’s gross amount of pollution comes from producing goods for the West. Further, on a per capita basis, US (and even Australia’s) pollution is more than twice that of China.


Precisely. Don’t go to the first cause, the “consumption” that is the root of the problem. Define “consumption” as OK, and just work diligently on high-tech magic that will make “consumption” stop killing everything.

Hey, that’s a great paradigm! Instead of abolishing war, we can make it carbon-neutral! It’s a win-(win)-win! We get to keep doing things in our thoughtless accustomed ways (without any psychologically disturbing need to stop dissociative / addictive activities like working ourselves to death or entertaining ourselves to death…) while adding no fossil carbon to the atmosphere!

Actually, looking at the same paradigm for war makes it clear that we are far from any swift technological transition that lets us smoothly continue past habits. Can we make solar-powered tanks that outrun the petrol-powered tanks we use now? How about jet fuel? No i’m sure Tesla will roll out new product that makes war carbon-neutral…

There are onion-like layers of unreality in the discussion of responses to climate chaos…