How to order Life,
Money & Illusion.
Consider the Earth when buying stuff, author says
By ELIZABETH PATTERSON
Sun. Feb 22 - 2009
As a person who has spent all of her adult life involved in writing, music
and media, you would think avoiding the harsh realities of the world would
be second nature. You would guess wrong, gentle reader - I just can't get
enough of information about self-reliance, whether it's about maintaining
stockpiles or how to build a survival shelter out of soup cans. Yes, I watch
Survivorman regularly. Thanks to years of working freelance, I can live
on next to nothing for a surprisingly long time. I own books on such esoteric
delights as how to build a root cellar and how to make my own laundry soap.
If worst came to worst, I'd get along.
Do I plan to use that knowledge for my everyday life? Uh, no. My soup-can
house will remain an odd fantasy.
Life, Money & Illusion: Living on earth as if we want stay by
Mike Nickerson takes an in-depth look at how taxed the world and its resources
are and how we should sustain our future. It's not a book about hard-core
survival but rather, a look at how we must use our present resources more
In a recent interview by email, Nickerson explains his reasons for writing
the book and he poses a question that may alarm some.
"I had already written two books on sustainability so it was already
clear that we cannot continue to expand our impacts on the Earth; that we
have to stabilize and probably reduce those impacts in order to avoid catastrophe.
Learning that we have hard times just because we were not expanding impressed
me as a big problem. That is when I began studying economics and ecological
economics. I wanted an answer to the question: Why do we have to grow?"
Nickerson's question on growth is shocking - after all, every business,
everything in the economic world in general, is based on growth. Companies
are expected to make more money each year and workers are expected to be
more productive. Goods are made to become obsolete so you'll buy more in
the future. After all, who buys a computer these days and expects to be
still using it in 10 years? It's a continuing cycle that Nickerson believes
to be hopelessly out of date. He also believes growth is no longer an option.
"The primary point is that a fundamental change has taken place in
the relationship between people and the Earth. Throughout the human experience,
there were always new frontiers to expand into if we spoiled some area,
or if we needed more resources. Increasingly this is no longer true. This
change in circumstances requires an equally fundamental change in how we
Nickerson goes into considerable detail on every subject imaginable, supplying
the reader with plenty to ponder.
"There are many steps people can take to reduce personal material impacts,"
Nickerson says. "While individual actions may seem small, each one
is a testimony that change is in order. When enough people demonstrate their
concern through their wilful actions, the leaders will have to follow with
I may need that can opener yet.
Elizabeth Patterson is a musician, writer and broadcaster based
How to order this book.
Questions and comments are welcome.
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Last Update: February 25, 2009