Andrew Hoffman’s interview with award-winning author J.B. MacKinnon

MacKinnon (left) was interviewed by Andrew Hoffman (right) on June 16, 2021.
On June 16, 2021, Professor Andrew Hoffman interviewed award-winning author J.B. MacKinnon on his new book: The Day the World Stops Shopping: How Ending Consumerism Saves the Environment and Ourselves (HarperCollins, 2021). This book is asking, and answering, some very important questions for the future of our society and our world.  

What would really happen if we simply stopped shopping? Is “sustainable consumption” possible?

The economy says we must always consume more: even the slightest drop in spending leads to widespread unemployment, bankruptcy, and home foreclosure. Yet, the planet says we consume too much: in America, we burn the earth’s resources at a rate five times faster than it can regenerate. And despite efforts to “green” our consumption—by recycling, increasing energy efficiency, or using solar power—we have yet to see a decline in global carbon emissions. 

Is there a way to reduce our consumption to earth-saving levels without triggering economic collapse? 

At first this question took J.B. around the world, seeking answers from America’s big-box stores to the hunter-gatherer cultures of Namibia to communities in Ecuador that consume at an exactly sustainable rate. Then the thought experiment came shockingly true: the coronavirus brought shopping to a halt, and MacKinnon’s ideas were tested in real time.

Drawing from experts in fields ranging from climate change to economics, MacKinnon investigates how living with less would change our planet, our society, and ourselves. Along the way, he reveals just how much we stand to gain: An investment in our physical and emotional wellness. The pleasure of caring for our possessions. Closer relationships with our natural world and one another. 

B+I shared the one-hour interview between video between June 17 and July 8, 2021

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