How can we better understand the intersections of climate, consumption, and population, and what can they tell us about the future of a warming and more populated world?

Societies consume at different rates. Corporations drive consumption habits and help create a culture of commodification in which we identify as consumers—of goods, of services, of brands. Often, what we consume, when we buy, when we travel, and whether we use this product or that product are influenced by constructions of gender, race, and privilege created by those same corporations. We are what we consume; in turn, we consume what we are told we are.

How can we transcend our culture of consumption in order to embrace more ecological practices, as individuals and as a society overall? Sierra convened a panel of four experts—Katharine Wilkinson, Sherri Mitchell, Juliet Schor, and Shahzeen Attari—to arrange the pieces of this complex puzzle into a clearer picture.

Katharine Wilkinson is the vice president of communication and engagement at Project Drawdown and was the senior writer of the New York Times best-selling book Drawdown. Sherri Mitchell teaches on issues of Indigenous rights, environmental justice, and spiritual change and is the author of Sacred Instructions. Juliet Schor is a sociology professor at Boston College and the author of True Wealth. Shahzeen Attari is an associate professor at the O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University Bloomington and an Andrew Carnegie Fellow working on resource use and climate change.

The four gathered for a roundtable discussion this fall.

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