Webinar: Unsustainable Consumption & The Rise and Fall of Consumer Cultures | Region 10 | US EPA

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Webinar: Unsustainable Consumption & The Rise and Fall of Consumer Cultures

About the Webinar Series

One of our goals at EPA is to expand the conversation on environmentalism. Consumption and the Environment is a year-long webinar series that explores how we can reduce greenhouse gases by making more sustainable choices that support a vital economy. We are inviting guest speakers to share their views on consumption and get participants thinking and talking about how our choices can impact the environment. The series is sponsored by EPA's West Coast Climate and Materials Management Forum and is free and open to everyone. Please note the opinions, ideas, or data presented by non-EPA speakers in this series do not represent EPA policy or constitute endorsement by EPA.


Contact: Viccy Salazar

Offered as part of the Consumption and the Environment Webinar Series

When: February 1, 2011

Webinar Summary
Erik Assadourian will be presenting on consumer culture. As director of the 2010 State of the World: Transforming Cultures project, he argues that in today’s culture, flying planes, owning many cars and living in a huge house are not conspicuously decadent choices but, oftentimes, the cultural norm. He contends that consumer culture “leads people to find meaning, contentment, and acceptance through the consumption of goods and services,” because they have been raised to believe so, even though it does not improve quality of life and in fact destroys the environment. Instead of this system, Mr. Assadourian advocates for a shift to a new cultural paradigm based on sustainability. Here, what is “natural” and easy is also what is best for the planet. In his talk, he will take us through the current patterns of consumption, define “culture,” explain how consumerism has invaded cultures worldwide, and present his recommendations for creating a culture shift.

Speaker: Erik Assadourian, Senior Fellow at the Worldwatch Institute. Erik's presentation is available for downloading on his website at: http://blogs.worldwatch.org/transformingcultures/resources/ Exit EPA disclaimer

Discussion Questions:

  1. How did our consumer culture develop into what it is today?
  2. At what point does consumption become luxury?
  3. How will the end of a cheap fossil fuels era affect our society? What new skills will we require to deal with these effects?
  4. How do environmentally friendly habits arise and develop? What can we do to encourage that process?
  5. How are you acting as a cultural pioneer? How can you?
  6. What do you think of Erik Assadourian’s alternative to consumer culture? Is it feasible? How might we go about achieving the “wholesale transformation” that is necessary?
How to participate
  • Register once for the entire series at https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/928518465.
  • You must be able to view presentations via your computer and listen to the audio portion by telephone or through your PC speakers.
  • Registered participants will be able to connect to the web link provided in the reminder e-mail that will be sent to you 2 days in advance of the call date.
  • Set your screen resolution to 1024 X 768.

For PC-based Users

  • Required: Windows® 2000, XP, 2003 Server or Vista
  • Required: Internet Explorer® 6.0 or newer, or Mozilla® Firefox® 2.0 or newer (JavaScript™ and Java™ enabled)
  • Internet Connection Required: Cable modem, DSL or better recommended
  • Recommended: Minimum of Pentium® class 1GHz CPU with 512 MB of RAM (2 GB of RAM for Windows Vista)

For Mac®-based Users

  • Required: Mac OS® X 10.4 (Tiger®) or later
  • Required: Safari™ 3.0 or newer, Firefox® 2.0 or newer; (JavaScript™ and Java™ enabled)
  • Internet Connection Required: Cable modem, DSL or better recommended
  • Required: PowerPC G4/G5 or Intel processor, 512 MB of RAM or better

To Use VoIP Streaming Audio

  • Required: Fast Internet connection (384 kbps or more recommended)
  • Required: Microphone (for VoIP) and speakers (for streaming audio only) - USB headset recommended for VoIP users.

If you are unable to access the webinars live, full-length recorded versions will be posted on this website.

Local Navigation

URL: https://yosemite.epa.gov/R10/ECOCOMM.NSF/Climate+Change/consumption-webinar-feb1

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