The Fulfillment Curve

November 25, 2014

It’s well documented that spending on basic necessities gives us lots of fulfillment, and spending on creature comforts gives us some added fulfillment.

But beyond that, the more we spend, the less fulfillment we get. In fact, we actually reach a point where our happiness peaks – and spending beyond that point clutters our lives and makes us less happy. That peak point is called ‘enough’ – check it out in this illustration:

Fulfillment Curve

Most subscribers to this newsletter are, like me, blessed to be living in a land of plenty – and are probably, like me, beyond ‘enough’ when it comes to stuff. Consumerism may be good for our economy, but it contributes to resource depletion, climate change and other environmental challenges. Perhaps worse, consumerism has led us to worship stuff: it seems the more we have, the better. The cost has been an erosion of our spirituality, our relationships and our sense of community.

Perhaps there is a better way – one that involves pondering our own interpretation of what’s ‘enough’.

A sustainability thought on the threshold of Black Friday and the coming Christmas shopping frenzy. (Check out Buy Nothing Day,, the countermovement now present in more than 65 countries.)

Thanks to for the illustration.

Can that thing be fixed?

November 11, 2014

Host a repair café in your neighbourhood

Many things that end up in a landfill these days would have been fixed in an earlier era of greater resourcefulness. Unfortunately, in today’s society, the default seems to be forget about repairing; just throw it out and get a new one.

But a new trend is pushing back: Repair Cafés, where volunteers who can fix stuff hold an open house and invite their neighbours to bring in broken household items. They’ll then repair them for free, teaching repair skills in the process. It’s win, win, win: a community building exercise that helps people save money and keeps stuff out of the landfill.

Repair Cafés originated in Holland in 2007, and there are now hundreds of them in 15 countries, including a dozen in Canada. Why not start one in your neighbourhood? You can get everything you need at, plus some additional tips here.

Thanks to David Suzuki’s Queen of Green, Lindsay Coulter, for sharing this tip.