Transition Whatcom

Tonight, join filmmaker, author, and activist John de Graaf, to answer the question:

Affluenza: Is All That Coal To Make Stuff for Us?

Time: March 13, 2014 from 6:30pm to 8pm
Location: YWCA
Street: 1026 N Forest St
City/Town: Bellingham


We know the dire impacts of coal mining, transport, and burning. We know exploding oil trains are destroying families and communities across the country. We know our colossal use of energy is changing the chemistry of oceans and affecting global climate patterns.

But do we really realize the demand for fossil fuel is created by our own consumption patterns? Our affluenza, defined by the book’s authors as “a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more,” is the cause. The appetite that drives us to spend most waking hours almost wholly dedicated to getting and spending has broken our connection to what it means to be creators, rather than consumers.

Join our community for an important conversation, led by author John de Graaf, on how we can work together to overcome affluenza and regain our creativity, control, and time.

John de Graaf is author of Affluenza: How Overconsumption is Killing Us and How to Fight Back, Take Back Your Time: Fighting Overwork and Time Poverty in America, What's the Economy For, Anyway?: Why It's Time to Stop Chasing Growth and Start Pursuing Happiness. 

Co-hosted by Village Books, Community Food Co-op, Mount Baker Sierra Club, and RE Sources.

Next Tuesday: Join Transition Whatcom and the Pickford Cinema as we show the new John De Graaf movie:

Escape from Affluenza

Time: March 18, 2014 from 6:30pm to 8pm
Location: Limelight Theatre Bellingham
Street: 1416 Cornwall Avenue (Limelight)
City/Town: Bellingham WA

Escape from Affluenza shows how people can declare their independence from the epidemic of rampant consumerism and materialism ailing Americans and our environment by adopting the practices of simple living. This sequel to AFFLUENZA uses expert commentary, thought-provoking vignettes and humor to show how people can reduce their consumption and simplify their lives. With stories of real people from Seattle to the Netherlands who have altered their lifestyles and re-discovered the joy of living, ESCAPE FROM AFFLUENZA offers the antidote to debt, stress, time-pressure and possession-overload. Sponsored by Transition Whatcom- stay after the film for an audience discussion and thoughts about what we can do locally to escape affluenza!

Affluenza Articles:

Lifestyle Change Needed to Stop Need for Coal Power-produced Products
by Crina Hoyer and John De Graaf

If Whatcom's proposed coal port is approved, as many as 18 more trains per day would pass through Bellingham, all to feed the coal-fired power plants of Asia. In exchange for all this coal we would get more flat screen TVs, plastic bags, toys and millions of other disposable products being made for the "consumers" in our "market." But that's not all! We would also receive a greater volume of polluted air blown here from Asia, and related toxic deposits in Lake Whatcom, the drinking water source for most of Whatcom County.

An undiagnosed disease lies beneath this exchange, the single-minded pursuit of money and stuff regardless of the costs to our fellow Americans, our communities, our health, our democracy and our environment. We call that disease "affluenza." It's a contagious virus with symptoms ranging from "feverish expectations," to chronic congestion, chilled communities, killer stress, resource exhaustion and industrial diarrhea, all exacerbated by our dogged pursuit of "more." As the virus spreads among us, we pay little attention to its consequences. Since World War II, Americans have consumed more resources than everyone who ever lived before then. We have reduced our fisheries, soils and fossil fuels by half, caused the extinction of countless species and dramatically changed the climate...

Read More 

We Can't Grow On
by John De Graaf, Earth Island Journal

 Is economic growth sustainable? Is it desirable? First, let’s define our terms. I’m speaking of material growth, more products for more people. Non-material “development” – including improvements in health, education, and leisure time – may well be sustainable and desirable. But further material growth, especially in rich countries, is much harder to justify.

The twentieth-century environmentalist David Brower pointed out that, since World War II, population and economic growth have resulted in greater material consumption than in all previous human history. In that period – one one-hundredth of a second if we compress the age of Earth into a single week – we have reduced our fisheries, fossil fuels, and soils by half while causing the extinction of countless species and dangerously changing the climate....Read More 

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