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The Mindful Consumer
Mindfulness training and the escape from consumerism
A think-piece for Friends of the Earth Big Ideas Project by Dr Alison Armstrong and Professor Tim Jackson.
This essay forms a contribution to Friends of the Earth’s ‘Big Ideas’ programme, which is examining potential high-leverage interventions towards justice and sustainability across a range of domains. This paper forms part of the exploration of the topic of consumption and wellbeing, in which earlier consultation and deliberation identified a key question of how societies might reduce or replace the role of consumption and consumerism in supporting human identity. Here, Alison Armstrong and Tim Jackson bring their cutting-edge research and deep experience in sustainable consumption to bear on the topic. They suggest that mindfulness is a critical part of the answer: that by teaching mindfulness in schools, workplaces and other institutions we can weaken the social and psychological forces that encourage us (in modern Western societies at least) to find meaning, values and identity in consumerism.