Single poppy in wheat field

Earth Update #3

In Business and Environment, Environment, Ethical and Eco Agriculture by John JamesLeave a Comment

Do you want to know the real cause of global warming, sea rise, mega-bushfires and chaotic weather?

There is only one, and its pretty shocking. Its what we consume. Our spending is seriously damaging the planet.

A recent analysis by the ACF and Sydney University showed that every $10 you spend creates 7.2 Kg of greenhouse gas!

The average Australian in one year generates about 19 tonnes of greenhouse gasses, mainly in the production and distribution of goods.

The area over which you have direct control, such as household electricity and petrol, accounts for less than a third of this. Most is created in manufacturing the goods we buy. It is our love of shopping that is the problem. It is our enjoyment in buying things that will make it hard to change.

Buy one expensive suit you don’t need and you have added a ton of CO2 to the atmosphere. Buy one laptop and you have added another ton.

This is why the worst polluters come from single households in the wealthier suburbs.

Yet this is where you would expect to find the most responsible people, they better educated and the more environmentally aware. You could think that being wealthy would make it easier to purchase more environmentally sound products.

However, the survey showed the opposite: that increased wealth leads to more consumption and higher environmental impact. The wealthy not only don’t switch off appliances at the wall, but buy larger TV screens and more computer toys.

Far from enabling a sustainable lifestyle, increased wealth is creating greater environmental stress. For instance, the rich waste more of the food on their plates than those on lower incomes.

It is not what you have got that matters, but how thoughtfully you spend it.

Some years ago Amory Lovins addressed a meeting of Federal and State environment ministers. He told them that if we used the most efficient motors in our fridges, and the best insulation in our houses, and so on – if we used only the most environmentally economical equipment and materials available in everything we did – then a country like China could reach our standard of living without building one more power plant.

Instead the Chinese are constructing more than one coal-fired electricity plant each week. And we are encouraging them by buying what they make.

There is more information in and the full ACF report may be read on


John James is a therapist of the soul, architect and builder, philosopher and medieval historian. For some twenty years he and Hilary have been exploring the soul through energy psychology, while training people in sandplay. Together with Marg Garvan, they run the Crucible Centre in the Blue Mountains, NSW.

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