More Mottainai

Everywhere I look, it’s mottainai! Friday, I linked to this guest post on No Impact Man. Then Sunday it was this piece in the SF Chronicle. Yep, mottainai is firmly in the Zeitgeist.

As I understand it, the concept is basically a turbo-charged ‘waste not, want not,’ with a little boogeyman added for extra oomph. But the single-word efficiency and how fun it is to say add to its appeal.

photo by ryosuke takeakaI’m down with mottainai (hey, that’d make a cool bumper sticker), but I have one point of clarification from the Chronicle piece. I think encouraging kids to clean their plate is a sound goal only if they’re served a reasonable portion. And I think using guilt as a tactic (the whole ‘Clean your plate because there are starving kids…’ thing) can be tricky.

Anyway, since mottainai is such an of-the-moment idea, I’m wondering if we’ll be hearing about a similar concept from other communities. Do any of you know if other cultures have a word (I guess I’d settle for a phrase) that so succinctly captures the idea that we shouldn’t waste?

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