I Wish I Were Far From the Madding Crowd

April 23, 2010

An all consuming world?

Following the theme of yesterday’s post, I’ve included links to another video on waste and consumption (this one about McDonough’s & Braungart’s Cradle to Cradle concept), food consumption (includes a striking map), and creating green economies.

Rethinking how we make things

Waste = Food (Documentary on 49:23 min.)

An inspiring documentary on the Cradle to Cradle design concept of the chemist Michael Braungart and the architect William McDonough. Winner of the Silver Dragon at the Beijing International Science Film Festival 2006.

Sustainable consumption

Can Consumer Culture Be Transformed?


Deborah Byrd of EarthSky looks at consumerism and its repercussions.  The quiz was interesting (I scored worse than she did). She also discusses the State of the World 2010 report on moving from a consumerist society to a sustainable one (see link below).

Quiz – Consumer Consequences: Find out if you are living a sustainable life

State of the World 2010: From Madison Avenue to Mad Max? (Press Release) –  January 12, 2010

Report websitehttp://www.worldwatch.org/sow10

Excerpt from press release (emphasis added):

The report examines the institutions that shape cultural systems. Business has played the leading role in shifting cultures to center on consumerism, making an array of resource-intensive products such as bottled water, fast food, cars, disposable paper goods, and even pets seem increasingly “natural.”

Government has also promoted consumerism as a lynchpin of policy, often making it synonymous with national well-being and job creation. As the global economic recession accelerated in 2009, wealthy countries primed national economies with $2.8 trillion of new government stimulus packages, only a small percentage of which focused on green initiatives.

Food consumption

Where The Buffalo Roamed

Includes a map of the contiguous United States, visualized by distance to the nearest McDonald’s.

This site contains a number of other fascinating maps and graphics on a wide variety of subjects.

Food, Inc., the future of food, and waste = food

Transforming Cultures Blog – WorldWatch Institute


Creating a sustainable economy

Green Economy Takes Centre Stage at UNEP 2010 Champions of the Earth Awards


UNEP Green Economy Initiative


The New Green Economy Conference Conversation

Part 1 – http://dirt.asla.org/2010/01/21/the-new-green-economy-part-1/
Part 2 – http://dirt.asla.org/2010/01/21/the-new-green-economy-part-2-what-d…
Part 3 – http://dirt.asla.org/2010/01/26/the-new-green-economy-part-3-what-i…

CleanSkies: EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson Calls For Green Revolution at NCSE Conference

National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE)


NCSE Green Economy Blog


Note: While this looks like it might contain some good information, they seem to have a little problem with spam.

April 5, 2010

Busyness and fast food

How timely, given my recent post on busyness (which this nicely ties together with fast food).

A paper, “You Are How You Eat: Fast Food and Impatience,” to be published in Psychological Science., discusses how fast food (and even symbols of fast food) can cause increased impatience.  Okay, I don’t know if I buy that, but if the literature they cite is accurate, that could help explain Kabat-Zinn’s observations about how we feel more rushed today even though we have more “time-saving” devices at our disposal.

Zhong and DeVoe, researchers at the University of Toronto, note:

From the selection of ingredients to preparation of food and to consuming the end products, the goal of fast food is to save time. Fast food allows people to fill their stomach as quickly as possible and move on to other things. It represents a culture that emphasizes time efficiency and immediate gratification.

Based on recent advancements in the behavioral priming literature, we suggest that exposure to fast food concepts can automatically induce time-saving behaviors.

They note that the effects of that are probably mixed.

Although fast food has certainly contributed to a culture of time efficiency, the exposure to fast food might have also promoted haste and impatience.

They point out that it’s impossible to know whether fast food in part caused the value for time efficiency in our culture or is merely a consequence of it—but, according to the press release, “it’s clear from their findings that exposure to fast food reinforces an emphasis on impatience and instant gratification.”

And while they say that everyone is affected by this to some degree, I can see how especially with respect to eating it could (has?) become a vicious cycle.  You’re too busy too cook, so you grab some fast food.  Which is self-reinforcing so that after a while you’re too impatient to make your own meals.  (And that’s even truer when what you’re eating lights up the reward centers in your brain.)

And thus, Sandra Boynton can write songs like “BusyBusyBusy” that describe all too well our haste and impatience.)


Originally seen in Nutrition Updates from Stone Hearth Newsletters: Exposure to fast food, and its symbols, can make us impatient: study

The update was originally posted on EurekAlert as a press release: Rotman paper finds exposure to fast food can make us impatient

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