The Fuel Multinationals Run On

“The western world now obeys the precepts of commerce. A bloody demanding religion, if you ask me. The do’s and don’ts change every season and your ‘everyone’ doesn’t want to be left out, so they rush headlong to comply. That continuous change has a function, a single aim. Maximum consumption. They want to go on milking you. From the cradle to the grave. Face it: You’re a brain washed, walking purse, a robot, the fuel multinationals run on.”

Esther Verhoef, Close-up (2009 novel), quoted by Culture Change: Consumption Civilization: our prospects since western civilization’s historical adaptation, 2014

Sharing Stuff without Apps

pumpipumpe sharing household items

In every household we find tools, appliances and other stuff that are used only occasionally. If these things could be shared among neighbours, we need to buy much less. One way to achieve this is by setting up a hardware library, another way is to design an ‘app’ and use the internet to organize sharing among neighbours.

pumpipumpe sharing household items 2The Swiss project PumpiPumpe presents a low-tech solution that is even easier to apply. They made a collection of small stickers depicting all kinds of consumer goods. Every occupant of a building can paste the stickers on his or her mailbox, showing the neighbours which things can be borrowed from them. Apart from the ecological advantages, the project also stimulates social contact between neighbours.

More at PumpiPumpe. Their website is in French, German and Italian only. The stickers can be obtained for free if you live in Switzerland. If you live in another country, you only pay for the shipping (4 euro). Thanks to Christopher Santerre.


“Even more useful than the books or activities, though, is the principle behind libraries, that we and our neighbours can pool our resources and hold things in common that all of us occasionally need. Most of the Western World, however, adopted this principle for books and then stopped, never extending it to other obvious areas of life. In fact, the trend of the last few decades has been the opposite – people bought more and more of their own private stocks of anything, no matter how expensive or little-used: a row of ten family homes might have ten rakes, ten chainsaws, ten barbecue pits and ten Dora the Explorer videos, each of which is used for only a few hours a year.” Read.

Too Many (African) Babies?

Rapid population growth in the developing world does not significantly contribute to rising greenhouse gas emissions and focusing on the population explosion in poor countries diverts attention from the far more serious issue of over-consumption in rich countries, according to a new study. Introduction. Paper (pdf). Opinion.

Too many babies?

“It’s overconsumption, not population growth, that is the fundamental problem: By almost any measure, a small portion of the world’s people – those in the affluent, developed world – use up most of the Earth’s resources and produce most of its greenhouse gas emissions”. Read.