The paradox of efficiency

Efficiency is a classic case of a doubled-edged sword. On one side efficiency is crucial for the practice of sustainability because it is about getting more from less. In particular it is about getting more products and services from less resources. On the other hand efficiency is the darling of business management and strategy. Efficiency … Read more

At one with the universe

One of the consequences of having self-awareness is the feeling that you are separate, and not at one with the universe. Feeling separate leads to existential angst. However we are not really separate at all. It is true that we are differentiated from other things but not for long. The atoms in our bodies are … Read more

Pursue wisdom 

Morepork – Pursue Wisdom

The most important truth for all humans to face up to is that, in the words of Frederick Nietzsche, we are not finished yet. We are not fully evolved. We are not perfect. Indeed, a lot of what we think and do is unevolved. We can do better. But what is better? To answer this … Read more

Not-to-do list

“To attain knowledge, add things every day.To attain wisdom, remove things every day.”– Lao Tzu Lao Tzu’s advice is an age-old truism. Antoine de Saint-Exupery said something akin: “​[a] designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” And E.F. Schumacher … Read more

The break-even motive

Steady state economy, Break-even

The profit motive leads to economic growth, whereas a steady-state economy will be built on the foundations of a break-even motive. The overarching purpose of the economy should be the well-being of all people and the sustainability of the environment. However, the continuing focus on economic growth leads to the degradation of the environment and … Read more

Bad advertising, Good advertising

The 2015 “Are You Beach Body Ready?” campaign highlights the depths bad advertising will plunge to. The UK banned the campaign (but not the US!) for it’s callous body-shaming method. In advertising there are two fundamental methods: advertising that informs and advertising that persuades. In the early days, advertising was informative and the majority of advertising is … Read more

Craft technology for the future

When we think of technology we usually think of high-tech and big-tech, like robots and automated factories. However, hand tools and craft processes are technologies too. In a lower energy future there will be more use of manual, craft technology – tools, techniques and skills. A number of heritage technologies will be revisited. Whilst these technologies will probably be … Read more

Handmade for good

My partner Anna is a contemporary jeweller. Everything she makes is handmade. Apart from a few power tools and a gas torch Anna only uses hand tools. What she lacks in precision, she makes up for with touch and an eye for the less-than-perfect ‘ideal’. Even with the same design, no two pieces are the same and … Read more

Taking the cake

Taking the cake, the case for local production

The case for local production In The Transition Handbook the author Rob Hopkins talks about ‘the cake analogy’ which explains the case for local production. In his analogy the cake is the fundamental goods that all people need for a life of well-being namely food, shelter, clothes and energy. In the past these were all sourced locally. … Read more