Archive for News & Views

What We’re Thankful for This Year

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What We’re Thankful for This Year

The Postconsumers team tries to practice thankfulness whenever we can. We actually think that should be a daily practice and not just something we focus on in November, but we appreciate that it’s also nice to have a set time of year to sit back and reflect on the things that you’re most thankful for. This year, with the extreme amount of turmoil and upset going on in the world, we figure that it’s even more important to focus in on the good and the things that we’re most thankful for. So, without further ado, here is our list of our thankful items for the year 2014.

We’re Thankful for the Post Growth Alliance

One of our favorite things that happened this year is that we were invited to participate in the Post Growth Alliance, organized by the Post Growth Institute, an international network committed to tackling the cause, rather than the symptoms, of a myriad of social and environmental problems by building and empowering a broad-based global movement to create global prosperity that does not depend on economic growth. As part of the Post Growth Alliance, Postconsumers is able to not only broaden the reach of our message about the Satisfaction of Enough, but also at times share the compelling and always cutting edge information from the Post Growth Alliance and its members.

The National Emphasis on Food

In between celebrity nude photos and the Kimye wedding, Americans did seem to start to care more and more about an issue that’s near and dear to our heart – food. More documentaries and activism happened this year surrounding the need to clean up our food supply and to reduce food waste than any year that we can remember previously. We’re thankful for this because we’ve been talking not only about the role of food and health for years now, but also about how the consumer mindset is leading to unsound eating and overall wastefulness. While we have a lot of content on this topic, we like this article on ways to avoid TV while enjoying food. But, in general, we’re thankful to see an emphasis on raising awareness about our food cycle and how it operates.

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“I Love the Get Satisfied Interactive Handbook”

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Get Started Finding Your Own Satisfaction

Okay, okay, that could be considered a cheesy title for an article, except that we didn’t write it. We just realized we have been so busy giving you Postconsumers information on this blog that we’ve never taken the time to quickly post some of the reactions that have come in from people taking our 30-minute web course. The short course is produced in cooperation with UCLA and customized to each private user. Here are real quotes from real people who have given their real names:

“I liked this web course a lot! I’m especially interested in continuing to learn how to help my children understand the awful marketing that filters even into a home that doesn’t turn on the tv.” -Molly Dykstra

“The Get Satisfied Interactive Handbook is clear and simple to work with. I enjoyed answering the questions and spending this time to think about my consumption.” -Lyla Patel

“I thought it was interesting and enjoyable. One thing that really stuck out was the suggestion of waiting before making a purchase–and that I might be surprised to find the urgency to buy no longer existed. GOOD STUFF! Thanks!” -James MacKenzie

“The fact that this short course is customized was great – it meant that I didn’t have to wade through a whole lot of ideas/information irrelevant to me.” -Cathleen Mary Timbs

“I love the Get Satisfied Interactive Handbook and the fact that it is all available online whenever I want to log in.” -Karen Aubry

“I think this is an excellent tool to help people become more aware of what they consume and how to find satisfaction. However, I am a quick reader and it was sometimes annoying to wait until the speaker was through reading the passage to see the next part of the passage (unless clicking forward arrow). Overall, I think it was great!” -Amy Bradford

“Thanks for the very needed Postconsumer information – I wish you the best in spreading and developing the initiative. Keep growing and promoting these constructive ideas.” -Laura Vidal

Get Started with the Postconsumers Course






“Living Room Revolution” Author Cecile Andrews Wins Get Satisfied Award

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Happy Earth Day! Happy Living Room Revolution! Because a Living Room Revolution is what this planet needs right now and there’s no one better suited to nail it than the person who sent in the winning entry for our $500 Get Satisfied Award – and wrote the book! Our five judges have voted, without knowing the names of any of the entrants, and prolific Cecile Andrews is the winner. Her other classic books are The Circle of Simplicity, Less Is More, and Slow Is Beautiful. Huge thanks to everyone, including judges Tamsen Butler in Nebraska, Derek Hambrick in Georgia, Katherine Hauswirth in Connecticut, Jon Myhre in California, and Erik Richardson in Wisconsin, all co-authors of our Get Satisfied book.

Now, without further ado, here is the winning submission by Cecile Andrews to inspire the mainstream:

Time to Talk! Conversation as a Strategy for Social Change

We need to change things! We know that. There are so many problems.

But how do we change our society? Social change seems to happen when there is a massive response from people — people are in the streets, they’re voting, they’re talking about the issues.

How do we build this kind of response?

Too often activists advocate policies without really engaging or involving people. We need to find ways to lure people into involvement in social change! Help them see how meaningful it is! One way to do this is to bring people together to talk.

Conversation is an overlooked strategy for social change, even though it has figured prominently throughout history — the coffee houses of 18th century England, the salons of the French Revolution, the consciousness raising groups of the women’s movement. Conversation is a strategy that can galvanize people!

Over the years I’ve found there are three levels of conversation: the personal, the public, and the political.

The Personal Response
Conversation involves connection and response to people in a congenial, convivial manner — making people feel welcome and appreciated. So try this: develop the habit of ‘stop and chats.’ Talk to everyone! Whether it’s about their puppy or their electric car. Chat when you go for your walks or you’re standing in a line or sitting next to someone in a cafe!

(In fact, Oprah has developed a campaign of ‘Just Say Hello,’ citing the pernicious effects of the growing loneliness and isolation of our culture.)

When we greet each other, we create a culture in which people feel they belong, and they begin to care for others.

In a conversation you don’t argue with people; you don’t try to convince. Just tell your story and ask others about theirs. Conversation is a barn raising, not a battle.

Everyday personal conversations evoke the habit of response and connection — the first step in social change because people learn to turn to each other.

The Public Response
The next step is to build on this practice of personal conversation. Groups or organizations must bring people together in small groups to talk in greater depth about matters of substance. People are hungry for this kind of in-depth connection! For instance, every time a group has a speaker, they need to follow the presentation with a small group of people talking together.

Further, you can build ongoing conversation circles. Conversation circles have three parts: Exploring your own experience, exploring the cultural forces affecting us, and brainstorming actions for change.

For instance, in discussing the subject of ‘community,’ the three questions would be: When in your life have you experienced community? What forces in our society make it difficult to have community? What steps can you take to build community — both personal and public? Any topic can use this basic approach.

A conversation circle is cooperative and egalitarian. It helps people develop the habit of coming together, to respond with collaboration and equality. Most of all, it helps people feel connected and cared for.

Such social experiences are so important that Robert Putnam, author of Bowling Alone, recommends that all groups and organizations develop a ‘social capital impact statement’ showing how they’re building connections and community!

The Political Response
Ultimately, we need a political response: marches, demonstrations, and rallies — huge events that involve hundreds of people. They must be occasions of community and caring and joy! The experience of joyful community is the key to massive change.

So let’s quit having a lot of dull, boring speeches at our public meetings! Ask people to turn to each other and talk! Put chairs in circles; serve food. You need singing and chances for people to gather for conversation. And maybe dancing in the streets!

These protests will succeed because they build on the skills learned in daily conversations and small groups — because we have learned the habit of turning to one another. If we become committed with talking to each other, a massive outcry for change can build. In the process we learn that we are always ‘better together.’

John Dewey said that ‘Democracy is born in conversation.’ History has taught us that the biggest force for change begins when you take time to talk. It’s something we can all begin to act on now.”


Win the $500 Get Satisfied Award on Earth Day for Your Mainstream Idea!

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Why is this Earth Day different from all the other great celebrations of our sublime planet? It’s the day that you can win our new $500 Get Satisfied Award for the best idea to inspire “the satisfaction of enough for today” in the mainstream. That’s what is missing on the planet to keep it sublime so enter as many times as you like! Your idea can be just a few words or a few sentences or a few paragraphs and needs to be received by April 10, 2014. Send it in the body of an email with the subject line “inspire the mainstream” to, no attachments please. Here’s the national panel of contest judges that has been convened from the 20 co-authors of Get Satisfied: How Twenty People Like You Found the Satisfaction of Enough:

Tamsen Butler, Nebraska

Tamsen Butler is the award-winning author of The Complete Guide to Personal Finance: For Teenagers and College Students, as well as other book titles. More valuable information about her can be found on her website:

Derek Hambrick, Georgia

Derek Hambrick likes words. And readers seem to like his. Parallel with writing his current novel, Derek crafts thoughtful narratives, insightful articles, and snappy web copy. Visit

Katherine Hauswirth, Connecticut

Katherine Hauswirth’s essays and poems have been published in a wide array of venues including The Christian Science Monitor, The Writer’s Handbook, The Writer’s Guide to Fiction, Women of Spirit, Lutheran Digest, Wilderness House Literary Review, My Lasting Legacy, Chronogram, Blueline, Bibliobuffet, and Seasons. Her book, Harriet’s Voice: A Writing Mother’s Journey, was an entry of note in the 2012 Anderbo Self-Published Awards.

Jon Myhre, California

Since the beginning of his retirement Jon Myhre has been focused on writing, something he’s wanted to do for decades.  So far he’s been published three times in the Christian Science Monitor, was the author of a weekly column for his hometown newspaper, has written numerous short stories and is a long-time member of what he considers the best writing workshop in Southern California.

Erik Richardson, Wisconsin

Erik Richardson is the co-founder of Richardson Ideaworks, providing business planning, marketing and consulting for small businesses. Smart solutions, creative thinking and the ability to assess and transform words, images and ideas into “a-ha!” moments are the RI specialties at

Many thanks to these distinguished judges who will decide the winner of the $500 Get Satisfied Award! They will eyeball your idea based on its positioning for mainstream impact – how to help the wider public fall in love with Enough For Today and move beyond addictive consumerism. Enough is beautiful, not belt-tightening or boring like its past reputation. They might even choose some satisfying sizzle per the sexy innuendo of our Get Satisfied title. Questions? Call 1-877-Unstuff.

All submissions become the property of to use and promote on our website, with email, and in social media channels. The entry deadline on April 10 is midnight PDT. Ideas cannot be plagiarized and need to be original to the author even if there are duplicates (sometimes great minds think alike). The winner will be featured in our blog and announced on our social media platforms so let’s help to inspire the world!

Fall in Love with Your Idea of Enough

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heart_treePostconsumers is gearing up for the Valentine’s fun ahead so I thought it would be a good time to quickly talk about falling in love. Oh, I don’t mean the usual romance or the once-in-a-lifetime romance or even the spectacular romance of life itself. I mean the every pore of your body, every moment of your day, every throb of your spirit kind of love. I mean fall in love with your idea of how much is enough.

Why is this so different and so important? The dictionary defines “enough” as sufficient to meet needs or satisfy desires. OMG, what could be more essential to the utter fulfillment of life and yet it’s like a nose-wrinkling, eye-rolling, Martian concept in America. There are so many millions of people in this country who don’t have anywhere close to enough, so it’s vital that those of us who do actually appreciate it, treasure it, love it to the core.

That’s why all of our offerings are called Get Satisfied. The Get Satisfied web course, book, cartoon series and game show all provide fun ways to explore how much is enough for you. And this doesn’t mean enough for tomorrow, no one can know that. It just means enough for today, whether it’s a little or a lot. No one can discover that except for you. More than anything – for our own mental health and for the planet’s health – America needs an ecstatic love affair with enough.

Thinking Inside the Bawx

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BawxI just heard that Bawx hopes to keep going after the winter holiday season, which may be outdated news but hey, it’s too good to pass up. What is Bawx? It’s a statement on our culture’s addictive consumerism, among other things, that offers a well-designed product any young child would love: a 100% recycled, sturdy, 2-ft-cubed, empty cardboard box. They sell four models that range in price from $24.99 to $499.99, but all the boxes are actually the same (different views are pictured for each model, however, and Model 3.0 is “New!”).

Why would people buy an empty cardboard box for $499.99 when they could get the very same wondrous item for $24.99? Why would people buy an empty cardboard box at all when they could find a free box to give their child anytime? All of the money from the purchases goes to either of two children’s charities: Charley Davidson Leukemia Fund in Boston or Blue Sky Bridge in Boulder, helping child abuse victims.

This postconsumerism effort beautifully enacts the legend that exists among early childhood educators like myself that young children often prefer to get creative with an empty box than with its pre-scripted contents. As the designers say, “Kids would much rather spend time with their friends and parents and a Bawx, than the latest technology. Ok, that is a complete lie, but maybe if they did have a Bawx they would spend more time with people, and a bit less time with pixels.” And maybe we would all think a bit more about why we’re buying stuff.

The Lambs of Main Street: New Movie Review

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Wolf-of-Wall-StreetA tagline for Martin Scorsese’s new film The Wolf of Wall Street is “More Is Never Enough,” so how could I not write a quickie blog about it? I was expecting the slogan to be one of the themes of course, but I had no idea that it’s virtually the only focus of the movie: never enough money, never enough hubris, never enough drugs, never enough bra cup sizes (“she already has C cups but she wants double-Ds”). Even when they’re convicted, the characters seem to learn nothing and change nothing about their personalities — it’s a well-done farce from beginning to end.

My takeaway from the film is somewhat different than most, however. While many are hooting or hollering at the wolves of Wall Street for their greed, I think the largely unspoken problem in this country is that the lambs of Main Street actually believe More Is Never Enough too. Of course there’s a gigantic difference between the “benumbed excess” of Wall Street and the mere dreams of it on Main Street, but they’re both aspects of the national affliction known as affluenza.

The movie is outrageous and dated while at the same time being customary and current. It sets the stage nicely for *anything* that can help to move our culture beyond its materialism virus, its addictive consumerism. But at three hours on the screen, it’s way too long and I have a feeling that audiences won’t Get Satisfied no matter how much they watch.

Ten Things We’re Thankful For This Summer

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Summer Photo by simplybikeSummer is a slower time of year when we hope that you’ll take the time to reflect on things that you’re thankful for. With all of the negativity that the consumer media machine (and, frankly, the world) throw at us daily, it’s often hard to keep perspective. From global violence to decisions by those in power that clearly work against the evidence of human-induced climate change, it’s easy to forget all of the progress that is being made or the things that we can be thankful for. We thought we’d take today to list some things that we’re incredibly grateful for this summer.

1. Access to Potable Water: This summer, Postconsumers has been focusing on raising attention about peak water and the global water shortage. As we’ve pointed out, it’s easy to forget that in many parts of the world, water itself is an endangered resource. We’re thankful that we have access to water every day.

2. People Who Lead By Example: From those who drill down to live with a hundred items or less to those how learn how to reduce their consumer budget by 10% a month, we’re thankful for everybody who’s actively making changes to move beyond the consumer machine and learning to find satisfaction in daily living.

3. The Internet: We may tell you to consider a media diet and spending less time online in general, and that is important. But it’s also true that the internet is a valuable source of information about consumerism, climate and more. It’s also how we find and stay in touch with other Postconsumers!

4. Trees: We dedicated an entire Pinterest board to trees! That’s how much we love them – and this is the time of year when the greatest number of people can enjoy the greatest number of trees!

5. Organizations That Fight For Change: The power resides in numbers, and that’s why organizations like and the World Wildlife Fund are so very important and we’re so very thankful for the work that they do. We need as many battalions in the fight to change the status quo and direction as possible.

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Who Was the Most Environmentally Friendly US President?

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Eco Friendly US PresidentsHappy Presidents’ Day! No matter what you think of Barack Obama, it’s somewhat undeniable that his environmental record as President of the United States hasn’t been much worth writing home about so far. That got us wondering what the most environmentally-friendly presidents in U.S. history were. We thought a good use of Presidents’ Day would be to take a look at the best environmentally-focused presidential administrations and then try to channel all of our energy to see some of that green-focus make its way to the White House and their combatants.

Jimmy Carter (1977-1981)

He may have been a one-termer, but he used that term to do a lot of good for the planet. Carter didn’t just sign environmental laws into being, he actively lobbied for them. In the first year of his administration, the Department of Energy was created and the Soil and Water Conservation Act was passed (as was the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act). He also helped to advance clean air standards with amendments to the Clean Air Act. That list isn’t long enough? It was also during his administration that the National Energy Act, the Antarctic Conservation Act, the Endangered American Wilderness Act and the Alaskan National Interest Lands Conservation Act all passed!

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Thinking About the Environmental Implications of the 2012 Election

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Post Election 2012 Environmental IssuesIt may seem as though it was months ago that the 2012 presidential election ended. Let’s be honest, the entire campaign was so painful for some that they’d like to banish it from their minds as quickly as possible. But the fact is that the election just ended, and four more years of President Obama means that we have some idea of what we can expect in terms of green energy and climate change policy. But is the picture as rosy as it may seem? Let’s take a quick look at a few realities.

Reality Number One: Obama Was the Better Choice for Environmental Concerns

If clean energy, climate change or environmental policy was your single-issue voting concern, then it’s true that your choice was clear. Why is that? Because to care about environmental policy, you have to begin by admitting that climate change is in fact happening. Unfortunately, only one political party has embraced climate change as a reality and attempted to craft policy around it. We’re going to avoid going so far as to say that the Republican party has decided to not believe in science, but the truth is that their statements on climate change just aren’t backed up by facts. So, yes, it’s unquestionable that for people who care about environmental policy and issues, Obama was the better choice.

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