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Speaker to Discuss Time Poverty and Overwork in U.S.

 Speaker to Discuss Time Poverty and Overwork in U.S.


John de Graaf, executive director of Take Back Your Time, an organization challenging time poverty and overwork in the U.S. and Canada, will speak on Friday, April 16, at SUNY Cortland.

De Graaf, the co-author of the best-selling 2001 book Affluenza: the All-Consuming Epidemic (Berrett-Koehler), begins at 7 p.m. in Old Main Brown Auditorium. The talk is free and open to the public.

He will discuss “From Overconsumption to Time Affluence: Trading ‘Stuff’ for Time, Health, Families and the Environment” as the special, post-Scholars’ Day lecture. The 14th annual Scholars’ Day, a series of presentations highlighting faculty, staff and student scholarship and research at SUNY Cortland, will take place all that day in Old Main.

In his talk, de Graaf will focus on the relationship of consumerism and time poverty, health and the environment, and what individuals can to do take back their time.

De Graaf’s book was republished in 2005 and has been translated into eight languages. He edited the 2003 book Take Back Your Time (Berrett-Koehler) and the 1992 children’s book, David Brower: Friend of the Earth (Henry Holt).

A frequent speaker on issues of overwork and over-consumption in America, de Graaf has worked with KCTS-TV, the Seattle PBS affiliate, for 26 years as an independent producer of television documentaries, many with environmental subjects. More than 15 of his programs have been broadcast in prime time nationally on PBS.

He has received more than 100 regional, national and international awards for filmmaking, including three Emmy awards. The de Graaf Environmental Filmmaking Award, named in his honor, is presented annually at the Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival in Nevada City, Calif.

De Graaf produced the popular PBS specials, “Running Out of Time,” an examination of overwork and time pressure in America, and “Affluenza,” a humorous critique of American consumerism.

His most recent films are “What’s the Economy For, Anyway?,” a humorous look at American economic policy, and “The Whole World Was Watching,” a look back at the 1999 World Trade Organization (WTO) protests in Seattle.

More information on de Graaf’s organization is available at

Scholars’ Day is supported by the President’s Office, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs’ Office, The Cortland Fund, the Cortland College Foundation and the Auxiliary Services Corporation. The Student Alumni Association provides volunteers for Scholars’ Day.

For more information, including the complete schedule of events, visit the Scholars’ Day Web page at or call the School of Arts and Science at (607) 753-4312.