Support for radical reduction

Q from my Facebook feed this morning (specifically, from the Deep Adaptation group):

“Have you come across the idea that the industrial countries need to lower their production and consumption of everything by 75 percent? Or even more?”

My answer:

Yes! I have come across this thought. That people in the rich industrialized nations need to radically cut their footprint/consumption. In fact, I have even seen the figure as 90% reduction. And I’m part of a movement of people who are voluntarily doing it.

Not that we always achieve that level, but even by aiming for it we are radically reducing. Of course, personal reductions are meaningless unless they are combined with activism, public advocacy, beneficial contagion. All of which we strive to do also.

People interested in exploring this might like to check out the Facebook group Riot for Austerity (also known as the 90% Reduction Challenge).

A deeply related concept is Degrowth. I suggest the Facebook group Degrowth – join the revolution. You can also probably find Degrowth people on other channels by googling.

Some Deep Adaptation and Degrowth members are also members of the Riot for Austerity / 90% Reduction Challenge group, and vice versa.

PS. This thread I am referring to actually goes deeper, to ask how we might go about using advertising and marketing to persuade people to make such big changes.

The OP says: “Often, marketing stories are something that helps us forget our common sense and buy yet another thing that we don’t actually need. How could these stories change so that they remind us of our common sense and we realise we don’t actually need the thing that we see advertised?”

If this avenue of inquiry and activity sparks your interest at all, it’s worth joining the DA Facebook group just for this thread. But a lot of us in climate activist circles right now are getting more into this topic of beneficial marketing and advertising, so you are likely to run across this topic in other groups as well! It’s not a moment too soon.

More thoughts I wrote on that same thread today – Dec 7:

One thing that strikes me, as I am reading this wonderful thread, is that marketing and advertising have their original roots in pure, grassroots, person-to-person word of mouth.

In other words, people just telling each other about things that are going well for them. Things that they like, be it a household tool or a cooking tip or a gardening show or a great new book on household thrift, or a DIY upcycle group or what have you.

Definitely a lot of word-of-mouth transmission around things that save money and human energy has always been a big part of every day chatter amongst neighbors and friends. And now that we have online channels, the chatter can be greatly amplified to the benefit of people and planet.

Thank you so much [OP] for starting this thread, and all who are contributing. Whatever you want to call it be at cultural transmission or marketing or beneficial contagion, I strongly believe that it is the core of healing planetary ecosystems as well as repairing the very torn social fabric of our communities.

It’s a joy to have so many kind, compassionate, intelligent people to do this work with. Thank you all!

And this:

One type of marketing that was not made to sell products, but was made to “sell” ideas, is the posters that governments printed during World War II to get citizens to emotionally buy in to government policies (rationing etc).

Without emotional buy-in to wartime austerity measures, the governments knew that citizen noncompliance would be rampant.

Of course there was still a lot of noncompliance, but not nearly as much as there might have been.

The government policies in that case were meant to enlist citizens in conserving resources so that those resources could be channeled into war.

Right now, the “war” we must wage is a war on consumerism, climate change, ecosystems destruction.

We could make posters for this “war effort.”

And now that we are all online publishers, we wouldn’t even necessarily have the expense of mass printing. Although people could choose to print small batches and take them to neighborhood meetings etc.

People often find vintage posters appealing, and we can make use of that.

Some of us are graphic designers, illustrators, copywriters, marketers, and so on — and we can use our skills to make charming vintage-style posters that are pointing toward a nature-based, degrowth future.

Other poster genres that people find appealing include sci-fi, and solarpunk.