Do less to consume less

The phrase “Do less to consume less” was coined by Amory Lovins – the creator of the Rocky Mountain Institute – and it is summed up in the term Negawatt, referring to power saved or not used, in contrast to Megawatt, which is a unit for measuring power used. 30 years have passed since he came up with this phrase, which at the time was regarded as a ‘provocation’.

Today it is abundantly clear that it is a necessity. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us clearly that it is possible to produce and above all consume differently: better, less and closer. Every EU Member State has seen an increase over the past year in consumption of food that is produced locally and cooked at home. Food producers have found new ways to get their products to consumers and ethical purchasing groups have proliferated. We have featured these in some of our newsletters.

But this is not enough, we can do much more. For example, the whole of the advertising sector which exists to attract attention to products – not just food – and which treats the citizen as a mere consumer whose brain is there to be polluted needs radical reform. Reality-based advertising would help us understand, not just consume. We believe that local authorities can impose a sense of responsibility (some do this already), for example by requiring shops to turn off their illuminated signs when they close (reducing energy consumption) or by banning paper-based advertising, thus saving both trees and plants immediately. Such measures would bring savings to both businesses and citizens and would benefit the environment at the same time.