Colin Beavan on waste

The other day I read nef‘s Happy Planet Index report. There’s a lot of good stuff in it, but for now I just want to repeat Colin Beavan (“No Impact Man”)’s quote about waste, because it’s spot-on:

….The way I figure out, a good way of defining waste is the use of planetary resources that don’t improve quality of life.

I like this view a lot. Instead of environmental effectiveness being based on the restrictive view that we should simply “use less,” we should instead “use well.” This offers the intersection of environmentalism and human aspiration.

Much of packaging, to take a simple example, offers no quality of life improvement. Nix it. The generation of electricity in a small sub-Saharan village where children can’t yet read at night improves education. Do it….

You can read the rest at his blog.

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