Saturday, March 26, 2016

Killing Ourselves with Stuff


"In the past ten years alone, one third of the world’s natural resources have been used up."

We are a society of consumers. If we stop consuming, or cut back on consuming, there is panic, because our economy demands we continue to spend spend spend, consume consume consume. Rather than having a few pairs of good quality shoes, we have to have 50 pairs of things that are easier and cheaper to replace than repair. Our closets have to be bigger and bigger because we need so many clothes.

Storage rental units are successful businesses because we have so much stuff that it can't even live with us anymore - we have to store it off our own property. Hoarding is a widespread, serious mental condition.

Products are made with planned obsolescence, so that we desire to discard something that is still in working order in favor of purchasing newer, better. Other products are made cheaply so that things like your toaster, your vacuum, your refridgerator - things that used to be pricier but lasted a long time - are simply trashed and replaced. Computers, cell phones... everything. 

The article also gets into the environmental crisis of raising livestock for food. Yes, this is a problem. This is, however, where I veer off the article. The problem isn't that we eat meat. The problem is that there are too many of us eating too much meat and wasting even more. But that part gets left out, because it's easier to criticize omnivores loudly than to whisper about population. 

Yes, the richest among humanity consume too much. Of everything. Would this be a problem if population were not so out of control? If the population were much smaller, none of this would be an issue. Mass-production would not be necessary. More stuff cheap would not be desirable. Global economy, so-called progress, GDP, how are these things improving our life here on Earth? 

The struggle to get people to consume less just isn't working. Cutting back on the population, everywhere, all over, is the only hope we have. If we don't do it ourselves, the planet WILL do it for us, and that will not be pretty. Sure, the richest among us will be OK for awhile, but the mass suffering everywhere else? Why is it OK to face that, rather than have the discussion about curtailing population before that happens?

I'd seriously like an answer to that.