I’m a little late for Earth Week, but better late than never.
Let’s talk about overcomsumption, shall we?
I’m fortunate and blessed to live in America. People from other countries want to come here to get a fresh start, realize their dreams, or simply have the freedom they’ve heard about all their lives. But those of us who have lived here from birth – even the poorest of us – are used to a certain standard of living where we can pretty much have anything we want when we want it. The most noticable of these wants is in food – we now have children who are obese because we feed them too much crap of the twinkie kind and allow them to sit on their butts and play video games.
Obesity isn’t the only sign that we have too much though. We have too many cars. Our homes are bigger than we need. Our landfills are overflowing.
Over consumption is a global problem that is being caused and worsened by a small fraction of the population. America and its consuming habits are the biggest contributors to the world’s global consumption problem, but unless it is brought to most people’s attention it is not a problem someone would really think about. The first step into becoming a better consumer is a hard one to take, and unless people are stopped and told what is happening it is not usually taken without a push. In learning about the problem of consumerism we learn that the way we live is unsustainable. In fact if the rest of the Earth’s population lived like North Americans do it would take three planets to live sustainably. (Wackernagel and Rees, 13)
See rest of text at Environment
PBS had a program called Affluenza, and it’s an interesting read on diagnosing yourself with this “disease”. Fortunately, there are some common sense and easy things you can do to combat affluenza AND overconsumption. The first thing, and this is the most difficult for any of us, I think, is to be content with what you already have. We’re all going to have wants from time to time, and I don’t think it’s wrong to have some wants and acquire them. The problem starts when we have too many wants, start thinking of them as needs (been there myself), and acquire every single one of them.
I’ll talk about overconsumption more later, but I want to leave off with this thought: What can you do today to be more content with what you have? To lessen your wants and recognize you probably have too much? If you need a hint, read on. Get rid of one of your catalogs. Heck, get rid of them all (just be sure to put them in the recycling bin!). Don’t watch TV commercials today. If you’re going out to run errands or grocery shop, make a list and stick to it. By the end of the day, you’ll have fewer triggers in your home and your mind.