Ecologically Sustainable Fun

Non-Consumptive Pleasures - NCP

An awareness game

Young people in trouble sometimes complain they have nothing to do, they are bored, so what else can you expect? They have not the money for the discos, shows, records, games and other consumer goods that they have been advertised into thinking are essential for the goods-plus life, and which are openly equated to the 'good life', that once meant high virtue. Easily bored people have usually had their sensibilities blunted, so they need raw excitement in order to have pleasure and thrills. Sometimes it is a 'macho' thing too - having learnt a definition of 'man' that requires raw excitement.

Any group at risk to dangerous boredom, or any group at all, can play the awareness-arousing game of finding 'pleasures that are non-consumptive'.

The basic principles are to try to

Everyone individually, or in groups or pairs, and using recycled paper or backs of used paper or cards, takes up to ten minutes to list ten pleasures that they enjoy or would like to enjoy. Then score each one out of ten for the amount of 'resource-wasting' it must involve, and list any resource-wasting it might involve which could be prevented. The lower the score, the more NC the pleasure.

After ten minute or so, collect and list up the ideas, lowest-scoring first, and leave a column for the 'possible waste' that could or cant be avoided. After talking over, everyone can make their own list from the total list , selecting what they think could be the best NCPleasures for them. So they get a lot of good ideas from other people about how to avoid boredom at least expense to oneself and the rest of the world.

Scoring pleasures

Possibly Scoring 10 for Non-consuming

Possibly Scoring 9

However, some eating and drinking is more ecologically and/or humanely undesirable and would lose marks - eg caviar, pate-de-fois-gras, live-boiled lobsters, veal, flesh of rare and threatened creatures such as whales and turtles... (For a vegetarian group, of course, all flesh products would score too high.) Some products come in ecologically undesirable throwaway containers, and that would give them lower scores -e.g. some takeaway containers.

Some other scoring considerations

And so on. You get the idea.

By the time the session is over, there should be lists of pleasurable things to do so long that bored people could even spend time reading them and choosing where to start.

And of course, there is no need to play this game as a formal game - it is something to talk about, as a non-consumptive pleasure in itself.

If at the end of all this, discussants still feel they have nothing non-consumptive that they themselves would want to do, then they have a problem rather than the world that they feel is boring. A lot of trouble happens for people when they are incurably bored Solving this problem is another game, and perhaps everyone should read Eric Berne's 'Games People Play'..

Not being bored is partly a matter of intelligence - because intelligent people have innate curiosity and tenacity, and are only bored when they have to sit somewhere that is wasting their time when they have so many better things they want to do. Even then, they can often work out 'pass-times' such as interesting doodling, mental play, or practising portrait-sketching. So curing boredom and improving intelligence are much the same thing.