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Mottainai: A Journey in Search of the Zero Waste Life
FNR Foundation

January 2017

"Mottainai feels like sacrifice at first. Then it feels like the only way to live."

Mottainai means waste. Popular with the Japanese for generations, mottainai (pronounced moe-tie-nye) is the Buddhist term for essence. One can say mottainai and mean "waste nothing." Or, if something appears wasteful, one might remark, "mottainai."

A kind of modern day fairy tale, MOTTAINAI: A JOURNEY IN SEARCH OF THE ZERO WASTE LIFE is the story of a young man who has everything and feels nothing but frustration. Until he meets an unusual stranger and learns about a program to teach us how little we really need—and why living differently is important for each of us, and for the planet.

A typical American Millennial, Greer Grassi stumbles on a grassroots movement to change the world. More interested in material accumulation and boosting his bank account, he puts his lifestyle of comfort on hold after he falls for a charming activist. To woo the girl, he takes a job at her nonprofit organization and embarks on the wacky but required training program in rural Japan. There, he lives off the grid with a cranky guru who talks trash and drinks too much. Yet, mottainai is the journey that will change the young man's outlook—and his life.

An ancient Japanese philosophy popularized worldwide by the late African activist Wangari Maathai, mottainai is both an individual consciousness and a global movement toward zero waste. To support this important worldview, MOTTAINAI: A JOURNEY IN SEARCH OF THE ZERO WASTE LIFE provides an entertaining story, an allegory about what it takes for us to change our comfortable, wasteful lifestyle in order to save our beautiful, beleaguered planet.

Includes tips for cutting back on waste.

Available on Amazon for $5.99 per copy.

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All material copyright © 2016, Food and Nutrition Resources Foundation, Inc.