More Fun, Less Stuff– For A Better World

“Inherent within the challenges of peak oil and climate change is an extraordinary opportunity to reinvent, rethink and rebuild the world around us.

Rob Hopkins, Co-Founder Transition Town Movement

MIKE NICKERSON – The Transition vision for the post-carbon world is a thriving, resilient, internally uplifting society.

Our potential for life-based fulfillment is enormous. It can be supported with quality food provided for successive generations through a mindful cycling of nutrient elements through local soils. Shelters can be constructed so that heating and cooling are maintained mostly by integrating south windows, insulation, summer shade, thermal mass and cool from underground. Maintaining these locally is the foundation for a circular economy.

When a system of mutual provision—the economy—consists of people trading with each other locally, the wealth created accumulates, within the community. Food production and housing get upgraded, health improves, relationships are formed, and the currency continues to circulate enabling more trade among members.

Along with securing necessities, a municipality developed according to the Transition vision encourages experiences which make life enjoyable with little or no need to exploit natural resources or use inanimate energy—learning, love and laughter; appreciation, being helpful, music, sport, dance, and the like can provide personal fulfillment enough that one doesn’t have time for or even much interest in material consumption. Is this not a more appealing approach to reducing consumption than belt-tightening?

As more and more people recognize and seek to live this vision, it becomes more obvious. How then might this way of living replace the planet-killing convention of perpetual economic expansion—GDP growth?

“More fun, less stuff” embodies the transformation. While the life-based activities listed above can easily be labeled as fun, some suggest that healthy eco-systems and a sustainable economy don’t qualify as fun. Since our quality of life is diminished without these, it is fitting to include them in the objectives of the “More Fun, Less Stuff” vision.

Proposing that life-based activities replace material consumption defies the advertising industry which spends upwards of $700 billion a year telling us that we need their things to be happy. We’ve heard it so often that many have come to believe it. How do we deflate this largest-ever propaganda enterprise?

As a meme, “More Fun, Less Stuff”, bypasses the Big Sell. Its four friendly, memorable syllables ask the question: Do we want to grow until we ruin the environment which sustains us, or should we redirect our economy toward the well-being of people and ecosystems? Potentially it can counter the “you gotta have this” meme. It encourages us to ask what the objective of all our work and activity really is.

“Memes are ideas, habits, skills, gestures, stories, songs; anything we pass from person To person by imitation . . . Just as genes are copied inside all the cells of our bodies and passed on in reproduction, memes are copied by our brains and our behaviour and are passed from person to person. . . . Just as the competition between genes shapes all of biological evolution, so it is the competition between memes that shape our minds and our cultures. So it is absolutely essential to understanding human nature that we take account of memes.”

Sue Blackmore, from the University of West England

If a sizeable portion of the population were to take up the “More Fun, Less Stuff” meme it would pull human culture away from our materialistic expansion mode and nudge it toward a culture through which humans can celebrate living, integrated within the cycles of nature.

Lobbying governments to legislate renewable energy goals and protesting the power of fossil fuel companies are helpful as far as they go. But what can one do directly? “More fun, less stuff,” indicates the direction with half the syllables of its Question of Direction predecessor. The Question of Direction asks the same question as the “More Fun, Less Stuff” meme, accompanied with explanations of “economic expansion” and “sustainability”.

It is difficult to understand a world based on different values until one has been able to live within that value structure. Those involved with Transition Town projects have taken steps in that direction.

Imagine a world in which the goal of governments and industries is the long-term well-being of people and ecosystems. This is a realistic—essential—goal. We humans are tremendously capable. We have abundant knowledge to work with, we care for one another, we can cooperate in large numbers, and we can take on bold tasks when circumstances inspire. “More Fun, Less Stuff” can help focus the change.

We need to shift away from material expansion and toward long-term well-being.

“More Fun, Less Stuff.” Pass it on.

More Fun, Less Stuff– For A Better World © 2024 by Mike Nickerson in The Greenzine is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 

More on the topic:

Learning Love and Laughter; A Key to Sustainability 

A Meme With Potential

A Question of Direction

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