Toward a Community of Conscientious Consumption, Production…(and everything else)

Note by Joern: Today we have a guest post by Kai Chan and Paige Olmsted, both at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at University of British Columbia. Please spread the word for this exciting initiative! Check out Kai’s presentation (linked below), too, to find out more about what this is all about. Would be great to get some discussion going here, too!

By Kai Chan

When it comes to the environment, we tend to be surrounded by bad news. Species loss, extreme events tied to climate change, food crises or anticipated water shortages. Most people care, but it’s hard to imagine what you can REALLY do about it. Change to more efficient light bulbs? Recycle? Carry your own shopping bags? These are great steps to take, but arguably they barely scratch the surface of these monumental global problems. It’s too big and too complicated. 

What if there was an easy, enjoyable and effective way for normal people to help support meaningful change?

This is exactly what was proposed yesterday in a symposium at the AAAS meeting in Boston, led by Kai Chan and Paige Olmsted along with distinguished panelists Jane Lubchenco, Jonathan Foley, David Wilcove, Steven Katona, and Simon Levin. The idea? For now it’s called C3… or “C3 dot 3”, which stands for Community of Conscientious Consumption, Production…(and everything else).

Think of it as a community that will make it simple to take responsibility for your social-ecological impacts–the impacts that you have on the environment that have knock-on effects on the lives and well-being of countless people, often on the other side of the world.

Think of it as a structure for connecting your once-yearly payment to a series of mitigation and adaptation actions in the places that are affected indirectly by your actions.

Think of it as a mechanism for you to put leverage on businesses, producers, and governments, and for each of them to coordinate their management of social and environmental risks using the best available science.

Finally, think of it as a social-ecological movement towards sustainability, one in construction with several needs that you can start to fill right now. First, and simplest, we need pledges from future community members who want to take social-ecological responsibility. Sign up by emailing ‘pledge’ to

We also need messengers. Spread the word, via social media, using the buttons below.

And we need co-constructors. See Kai’s slide show (with the associated notes) from yesterday to better understand the concept, and this slide show from earlier (which has more detail). If you can help on the knowledge-structures needed, or you can provide key contacts, or if you’ve got ideas for design, email with ‘co-constructor’ in the subject line to

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