We live in a society in which we are told that waste creates wealth. But wasting money on things we don’t need isn’t a good way to ‘create jobs’ and it’s an even worse way to increase personal wellbeing or the sustainability of our communities.
While the amount of food waste and excessive packaging in our society is attracting increasing attention, the causes of our love of waste are so vast it can be hard to spot from ground level. Take grass for example. Grass is the largest irrigated crop in the US with more dedication to growing lawn than growing corn. In Australia we spend billions of dollars per year fertilising and harvesting grass, most of which is immediately thrown away.
Our lawns, like the money we spend on bottled water and appliances that can’t be repaired, are a cultural phenomena. We grow lawn because our parents did and we don’t repair things any more because there are often no spare parts nor technicians who know how. Individuals acting alone can’t fix this.
Learning why our culture has become so wasteful is essential step toward learning how to waste less. In this workshop we will discuss the root causes of waste and both the personal and community responses that can help Australia to cure its bad case of Affluenza.
Dr Richard Denniss -An economist by training, he has worked for the past 20 years in a variety of policy and political roles. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Crawford School of Economics and Government at the Australian National University.
He is known for his ability to translate economics into everyday language. Richard has published extensively in academic journals, has a fortnightly column in The Canberra Times and Australian Financial Review and was the co-author of the best-selling Affluenza (with Dr Clive Hamilton).
His latest book, Curing Affluenza, revisits this strikingly modern affliction and shows why we must cherish the things that we own – preserve them, maintain them, and then gift them or sell them when we no longer have a need for them.
The Australia Institute is an independent policy think tank based in Canberra – tai.org.au
Date: Thursday 2 August Time: 9.30am – 12.30pm Where: Habitat Byron Bay, 1 Porter Street (off Bayshore Drive), Byron Bay Cost: $65 General / $55 Members