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Center for a New American Dream

The Center for a New American Dream is a nonprofit organization with a stated mission to “help Americans to reduce and shift their consumption to improve quality of life, protect the environment, and promote social justice." The organization works with individuals, institutions, communities, and businesses to conserve natural resources, counter the commercialization of culture, support community engagement, and promote positive changes in the way goods are produced and consumed.[1]

In reference to its name, the organization states that it is dedicated to helping support and nurture an American dream that upholds the spirit of the traditional dream, but with a new emphasis on sustainability and a celebration of non-material values. One of New American Dream's goals is to shift the culture from an emphasis on more to an emphasis on more of what matters.” It is up to the individual to determine what matters in his or her life, but the organization offers, by way of example, more time, nature, fairness, and fun as appropriate points of emphasis over material goods.[2]


The Center for a New American Dream's work centers on three program areas:

Redefining the Dream: This program seeks to inspire, engage, and challenge Americans to re-examine cultural values on consumption, "the good life", and never-ending economic growth. New Dream works to create a new national conversation about the limits of consumption, shared values, and how to better American lives, communities, and the environment.

Beyond Consumerism: New Dream's Beyond Consumerism program strives to create a vision of life beyond overconsumption, disposable lifestyles, and perpetual marketing, and to provide the tools to help families, citizens, educators, and activists rein in consumerism in their own lives and in broader society. Aspects of this program include the Conscious Consumer Marketplace shopping guide and the Alternative Gift Registry.

Collaborative Communities: This program aims to help Americans move beyond individual and household action to collective action to address shared social, economic, and environmental challenges. The goal of the program is to inspire, connect, support, and equip members to create local initiatives that build community capacity and social ties, increase ecological sustainability, and foster greater livability and economic vitality.

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