The End of Consumerism

Organised by: The University of Manchester
Date/Time: 2024-01-30T11:00:00Z2024-01-30T14:00:00Z

Location: No.1 Circle Square, 3 Symphony Park Manchester M1 7FS United Kingdom
Description: To deal with issues such as plastic pollution and climate change all materials and products in future will need to be part of a circular economy – they need to be designed primarily for repair and reuse, with recycling as the last resort. But how far away is that future? Almost all current products and materials in our homes and cities fail this circularity test. Thus, the task is enormous and means that we will need to redesign practically everything - and do it fast. In this talk I address the challenges of this paradigm shift and show that one of the striking implications is that consumerism as an economic model is incompatible with climate and biodiversity goals. I give examples from my research group where we have been working with manufacturing companies to tackle plastic waste, reduce carbon dioxide emissions and increase repairability. In each case the importance of taking a systems approach emerges and brings with it the added complications of working across disciplines, from psychology to economics. One of our conclusions is that the word ‘consumer’ is no longer a useful way to describe the role of people in a sustainable economy.
Link: The Albatross Lecture 2024: Professor Mark Miodownik Tickets, Tue 30 Jan 2024 at 11:00 | Eventbrite