Wealth. Well-being. Happiness: the words have a well-rounded, easeful feel to them, while "sustainability", though a great concept, has an implication of discipline and scrimping that can be taken as negative.

Author Juliet Schor argues that seeing the world through a framework of abundance as opposed to a fight over scarcity is the essential shift that needs to take place for healthier, happier societies.

In this video, Professor Schor describes her vision of this concept, Plenitude, as the essential shift to take us from what is to what might be. She gives numerous, concrete examples, from permaculture to fab labs to small business incubators, of how people are moving away from Business As Usual and rejecting the concept "you are what you buy" to move toward a more easeful, expressive way of living:

Juliet Schor: Plenitude from toddboyle on Vimeo.

Plenitude, abundance, gross national happiness, thrivability: the meme of "true" well-being is taking hold in communities across the world.
Wolfgang Hoeschele takes the frame of abundance and applies it to a vision of how cities could become vehicles of abundance: "life’s activities only become meaningful if they express something about the person’s self and values to others in that person’s life."

Schor, Hoeschele, and Shareable are at the vanguard of a movement that is striving to redefine the well-lived life, away from quantifying and consuming and towards quality of life and sharing.

On Thursday, June 24th, 2010, 6:30-9:30pm in San Francisco, will co-host a discussion with Wolfgang Hoeschele about his new book, The Economics of Abundance: A Political Economy of Freedom, Equity, and Sustainability.  Details about the event are here.

Read more: How to Create Abundant Cities




Nancy Roberts is a co-founder of The Idea Hive, a team of sustainability consultants and facilitators; she holds an MBA in Sustainable Enterprise ( from Dominican University of California.