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Consumption patterns among blacks are complicated by considerations including race, class position and personal relationships. Reuters/Antony Kaminju

Shaky ground: the challenge of being black and middle class

The black middle class occupies a complex and sometimes precarious position in society, one that requires constant renegotiation.
Not the aisle for happiness. consumer via www shutterstock com

Consumed: why more stuff does not mean more happiness

A lifestyle based on aggressive consumption stresses the Earth's resources and, beyond a certain point of comfort, does not actually foster human fulfillment or happiness.
Increasing portion size makes an offering more attractive, but when everyone does this in order to be competitive, all available offerings become large. Penn State/Flickr

Health check: do bigger portion sizes make you eat more?

Faced with a portion of food twice as big as what you normally consume will lead you to eat about a third more food than usual. This portion-size effect helps explain how growing serving sizes may be contributing…
Buying power doesn’t always stack up as the best measurement for who we are and how far we’ve come. Shutterstock/ MaleWitch

More pie in the sky - economic progress no slice of life

In the verbal volley between Gillard and Abbott, Swan and Hockey, there is a conversation that we are not hearing. It bubbles below the consciousness of mainstream Australia, a conversation that is old…
We won’t have sustainable fishing until we stop demanding so much seafood. George Hatcher

Seafood sustainability not a sustainable reality

In 1883, the eminent English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley made his now infamous proclamation on the infinite bounty of the sea: Probably all the great sea fisheries are inexhaustible; that is to say…
Be the change you wish to see in the world - it may have more impact than you realise. Corepics VOF/Shutterstock

Neighbourhood watch: how to go green and influence people

We all know that children learn by example. I know if I swear in front of my four year old I’m going to hear that word again soon, probably right in front of my mother-in-law, a school teacher, or a priest…
Blanket Burmese School.

Shopping for change this Christmas

A Burmese child refugee sleeps with her new teddy bear, knitted by an Australian volunteer. Griffith University Four-year-old Ar Zin stared at my bag. He knew there was something special inside. The classroom…
The population has the best chance of stabilising if we improve the lives of the poor and reign in excessive consumption of the wealthier. Flickr/DaveWilsonPhotography

Challenge 3: Balancing population growth and resources

Welcome to the State of the Future series. This series addresses 15 global challenges posed by the Millennium Project, an international non-profit think-tank collecting responses for 40 nodes worldwide…
Celebrate neighbourhood re-use! (But try not to stock up on clutter…) Steve Taylor

Want to be a sustainable consumer? Get to a garage sale

Garage sales have long been a fixture of Australian suburban culture, with people selling their unwanted things in their yard or garage, usually at token or negotiable prices. In the past, sales were usually…
Take the offer: sharing cuts waste and builds communities but we have our reasons for not always being comfortable with it. Flickr/Zervas

Sharing: if it’s so good, why don’t we do more of it?

Sharing is a good thing right? We are told it is good for the environment by cutting waste and needless consumption; we encourage it in our children for their moral growth; we see it used in advertising…
You don’t have to believe what everyone tells you. jovike/Flickr

One small thing you can do for the environment: think critically

Welcome to “One small thing …”. We asked our authors what one small thing they, or you, could do for the environment. We’ll bring their answers to you on Friday afternoons. Today’s one small thing comes…
Despite bleak predictions, bricks-and-mortar retail does have a future. AAP

Colorado takes a hike, but retail’s not going anywhere

The news that clothing and footwear chain Colorado is to close its doors will no doubt be greeted as further proof of bricks-and-mortar retail’s imminent extinction. Coupled with Small Business Minister…

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