Culture & Behavior


From the ancient Sumerian story of Gilgamesh to recent practices like mountaintop removal, history is full of examples of societies consuming resources (and competing for those resources) like there's no tomorrow. But there are also many examples of societies — both prehistoric and more recent — living in relative sustainability.

Whether or not humans are simply unsustainable by nature, one thing is clear: the way we organize ourselves socially matters deeply. How does human evolution impact our behavior? What kinds of cultural norms encourage overconsumption and how can we change these? How do our political institutions shape the kinds of sustainability decisions that can —and cannot— be made by businesses and governments?

videos

The Converging Environmental and Economic Crises

length: 1:28:57   credit: Nate Hagens

PCI Board Member Nate Hagens made this presentation at Minneapolis College of Art and Design on July 10, 2014.

Nate is a well-known speaker on the big picture issues facing human society. Nate's presentations address the opportunities and constraints we face after the coming end of economic growth. His talk, The Converging Environmental and Economic Crises: A Pep Talk For Those Paying Attention offered suggestions on how society might better adapt, physically and psychologically, to what's ahead.

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latest related publications

Sustainability vs. Resilience

William Rees    Jul 17, 2014   

This is a response to the article The End of Sustainability. William E. Rees is the co-creator of the Eco-Footprint concept and a Post Carbon Fellow. He authored the The Human Nature of … >>

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Want to Change the World? Read This First

Richard Heinberg    Jun 16, 2014   

  History is often made by strong personalities wielding bold new political, economic, or religious doctrines. Yet any serious effort to understand how and why societies change requires … >>

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CULTURE AND BEHAVIOR: Dangerously Addictive: Why We Are Biologically Ill-Suited to the Riches of Modern America

Peter Whybrow

EXCERPT: But living now in relative abundance, when the whole world is a shopping mall and our appetites are no longer constrained by limited resources, our craving for reward--be that for … >>

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The ENERGY Reader

Daniel Lerch Richard Heinberg Bill McKibben David Fridley David Hughes Gloria Flora Wes Jackson

What magic, or monster, lurks behind the light switch and the gas pump? Where does the seemingly limitless energy that fuels modern society come from? From oil spills, nuclear accidents, … >>

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