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13

TLDR: in this particular case, where the buyer lives very close to the shop, it's likely that buying in a brick-and-mortar shop has a lower carbon footprint compared to buying online. Online shopping may become greener when the distance to the shop is more than 14 - 50km (depending on your shopping behavior and on which scientific study you consult). I ...


10

It depends on your definition of sustainable. Your question doesn't have an absolute answer as stated. Sustainable can refer to an individual, a community, a region, a country, or civilization as a whole. It is also used to make reference to the effect on the environment (which can become very controversial). If you make your money from the local community ...


9

The big advantage of localising the economy is that transport is reduced, which means less CO2 emissions. A second advantage is that multiple local farms or factories spread over the country have less impact on the local enviroment than one large farm/factory that needs to produce the same amount. Farm monocultures for example can only be maintained with (...


9

While such a project is technically possible, I have to wonder: why bother? There already exists a huge energy infrastructure, warehouses full of photovoltaic (PV) waiting to be bought, electricity transmission networks, mineral extraction and processing plants, and so on. Doing it all from scratch while ignoring available infrastructure looks like putting a ...


8

If the govt offers reduced tax for particular types of ownership (eg non-profit organisation), then you could look at how you could use that as an option to make it easier. The reality is that in most developed countries we need a certain minimum amount of money to do various basic things, such as own land. Many would consider that you are still getting the ...


7

On the positive side economically you are expanding the market for sustainable products, which will help lower their price and make them more likely to be developed. Another reason to make the effort is that the grandchildren of the people who aren't pursuing sustainability may be, for example, traumatized like the grandchildren of war criminals, and wish ...


7

Cotton industry produces hundreds of time more volume than the Hemp industry does. Cotton: world production estimate is about 25 million tonnes. Hemp: approximately 37000-45000 tonnes fiber - most of it used by the specialty paper's industry It allows cotton industry to do huge Economies of scale, making the size of the primary intrans and transportation ...


7

During centuries, energy/resource consumption gradually grew. This is not a problem per se if new ways to acquire and exploit new resources are invented. But what is dangerous is a) too fast growth of consumption b) lack of reserves c) lack of flexibility In history, there were good times, when consumption grew, and bad times, when cultures unable to ...


7

Yes, there is one major project underway, called the the Sahara Solar Breeder. Wikipedia has a small page on it. There seems to be little information about the project since 2010, (perhaps because of the Japan tsunami?) but I did see a mention on their website of progress planned for 2013. There is also a summary of the project in New Scientist and Gizmag. ...


6

First of all, I think there are two very good reasons why there are many different labels that rate only a specific aspect of a product or look at a limited set of products: It is much easier than taking everything and every product into account. A lot of research is needed to continuously assess products. Products change all the time so your rating should ...


6

There are several databases like this online. Just google on 'sustainability OR csr database companies' and you’ll find a lot of hits. However, I have found that very few are easy to use. For example, the Sustainability Disclosure Database lists data on thousands of companies on sustainability and environmental and social and governance transparency. I did ...


5

Broadly speaking the two are orthogonal. That is, financial sustainability isn't related directly or consistently to environmental sustainability. Specifically, there are examples that swing strongly in both directions. At one extreme, you have subsistence farmers or hunter-gatherers who don't use value-based exchange at all, and different groups of those ...


5

I guess making such a label is something that anyone with a phone and a bit of money can do. Recognition from both manufacturers and customers is really "all you need", but anyone involved in marketing knows how difficult that is. The main problem I see with an evaluative label is the following How do you convince the manufacturer to stick your 2/10-star ...


5

Yes, to a certain extent. In economics this is called the 'rebound effect'. The rebound effect is that the effectiveness of a new techology or measure is reduced because it is counter-acted by other parts of the system. To give an example: people who insulate their house tend to keep their house at a higher temperature than before the insulation was done. ...


5

The social signals you send might well be more important than the economic ones. Consumers are not rational. Look at what people spend money and time on - it does not make them happier. We know what causes mental well being (such as these five steps). So people's consumption is highly illogical and does not follow economic theories of maximizing happiness. ...


4

Before responding to your questions in turn, I'd like to propose that I think this issue behaves somewhat like the (justifiably) maligned Laffer curve. In other words, I think it's clear that with no education, humans would still be stuck in primitive societies, which were sustainable, and involved small per capita resource usage. As education increases, ...


4

The question's fundamental premise, that our economy needs growth and that a steady-state economy wouldn't work, is a fallacy. It's also a fallacy to assume that ongoing economic growth requires depletion of finite resources. It's also true, incidentally, that we don't have any good measures of economic growth. The lazy proxy is usually taken to be GDP, ...


4

Yes, interest and sustainability can co-exist in the long run. Interest has already survived for millennia, so it's probably one of the best-tested sustainable mechanisms we have as a civilisation. And interest does not require perpetual exponential growth, neither for savings nor for debt. We've had plenty of periods of history where we haven't had ...


4

Economies that need growth to survive would be unsustainable when they will survive long enough. The resources are limited, and the growth means that resource usage is growing to infinity in infinite time. However, after reaching some critical mass such economy must either collapse or become non-growth economy. The Roman Empire have started to fall when it ...


4

Perhaps the best answer to the question, as posed, is... Research the source of the tree. Was it farmed under the guidelines or certification of the American Tree Farm System or in Britain the British Christmas Tree Growers Association (BCTGA) or the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)? There definitely are eco-friendly tree growers using low-grade land that ...


3

You must read The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Kieth: http://www.bookdepository.com/Vegetarian-Myth-Lierre-Keith/9781604860801 It's an excellent book, well cited and rich in information, presenting a factual viewpoint that my vegetarian-of-17-years self had to stand up and take notice of. Such a complicated topic, this book really opened my eyes. Needless to ...


3

I made a literature search and just present here all the significant results I could find with small excerpts from the abstracts: Growing green money? Mapping community currencies for sustainable development Link - 2013 Parallel sustainable monetary systems are being developed [..] to promote sustainable development by localising economic development, ...


3

In one sense, a lot. But in terms of real life, not much. Lighting accounts for something like 6% of electrical use. (Please don't ask me to source that...) So if LED lighting cut that in half, it would only save 3%. (Why half? LED isn't much more efficient than fluorescent lighting. Some LEDs would replace incandescents.) The replacement cost is ...


3

If I understand you correctly, you are mixing two concepts. Sustainable living can exist regardless of the economic climate. Prices rising does not mean that the value of assets is rising. It mean that you need more paper money to buy those assets. I am no economist, but at the moment it seems that the central banks are charging interest on the money they ...


3

So are there such projects? No. Or, only just. So far. For good reason. They MAY come. but not soon, and not easily. BUT energy production as a whole is potentially moving towards the model suggested in the question. Whether it gets there depends on many factors ... As much as we all may like to see a numerous and increasing number of "breeder" projects ...


3

Your life is never worthless if you are setting a good example. You can increase the worth of your efforts by spreading the word, by setting up programmes in your area to help people recycle etc, you can help your less able neighbours "I'm going to recycling, shall I take that stuff of yours?". Do not lose heart.


3

According to research by physicist Timothy Garrett, who has used physical laws to model the economy, the ratio of power to wealth is not changing: Source: T. Garrett, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. T. Garrett, a physicist, has authored several papers on the topic. See his list of peer-reviewed publications on this ...


3

Gerrit's answer answers from the perspective of time, and the entire world. I am going to answer by breaking down by country in the present, therefore we can see, at this current snapshot in time, the relationship between the richer and poorer. Data I use energy consumption in GJ per capita per annum for 2013 from here. I use IMF 2015 Per Capita GDP (at ...


2

Since this is a part of the defining sustainability series, I want to throw add my own approach as well. It is true, as EnergyNumbers points out, that localization does tend to add some inefficiencies. If you compare a small bakery to a large bread factory, there are some optimizations that can happen with the latter that can't happen with the former (for ...


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