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Jan 23, 2009
Anyone who hasn't seen it yet, simply must visit a website by photographer Chris Jordan. Jordan uses his photography combined with the power of Photoshop to illustrate how our waste adds up on a daily basis. It's truly illuminating, and is a must-see for anyone concerned with humanity's impact on the environment.

Another small piece of highly-necessary viewing is a short web-video called The Story of Stuff. It's a brilliant explanation of how our addiction to material goods is affecting the planet, and us. One statistic that stands out in my mind is that for each bag of trash that we put out at the curb, another five (unseen) bags was wasted to produce it. In other words, each bag of trash actually equals six. That's one reason why recycling simply isn't enough. We must put into practice the first two steps in the ecological slogan, "Reduce, reuse AND recycle." Recycling is the final step, but the first two are perhaps even more important, and more effective at cutting down our actual footprint.

Reducing our consumption significantly is something that the economic situation will force us all to do eventually, but there is no need to wait until that happens. Our addiction to material goods and to the never-ending cycle of replacing old with new keeps us enslaved (deliberately, by those who profit from it), and it keeps the planet in slavery to us. Ironically, our desire to consume, if left unchecked, will consume the very planet itself.

There is a practical way to cure this addiction. We can fulfill our needs while maintaining our ecological integrity. I believe that this requires a two-fold shift in values. First, we must break free from the belief that one's consumption is a direct indication of one's wealth and therefore social status. Second, we must break free from the idea that an item's value deteriorates as it gets older, whether or not it is still functioning.

In the United States, for example, items of clothing in perfectly good condition are thrown away in vast quantities on a daily basis. Some go to the thrift stores and end up being thrown away anyway, because the amount that is discarded is simply too much. Imagine what people in Bangladesh or Haiti would think if they could see video footage of all the clothing thrown into the landfills every day. With the items we waste, we could clothe the entire population of the world, while Westerners keep flooding into The Gap and department stores and Wal-Mart, and buying designer underwear and Doc Martens, while people in the under-developed nations wear rags and no shoes at all.

For the things that we do need, buying second-hand can be very empowering, allowing us more financial freedom, and fuelling our self-esteem, as we take pride in the fact that we have met our needs without demanding that the planet use more of its resources to make new stuff.

I believe that the economic crisis, along with our ecological crisis, will force us into a situation where we are required to re-evaluate our needs. Before that happens, those of us who are aware of this situation have a head-start. Instead of waiting for a crisis to push us into limiting our consumption, we have the opportunity to do it ourselves, right now. All it takes is the willingness to change the way we think and feel about material goods, and the willingness to question whether or not our purchases are driven by need. If the answer is no, then perhaps we are motivated instead by a hunger for fulfillment on a deeper level, which more than likely will not be satisfied by another trip to the mall.
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Posted: Jan 23, 2009 12:00am

 

 
 
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Author

Angel Flinn
, 1
Kapaau, HI, USA
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SHARES FROM ANGEL'S NETWORK
Feb
16
by Rock H.
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\\n \\r\\nIn recognition of the environmental benefits of a plant-based diet, the Sierra  Club  is  pleased  to announce a week  long  vegan “volunteer  vacation”  in  Yosemite National Park, Calif...
Feb
3
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\n\\r\\n\\r\\n\\r\\n\\r\ \nA simple one page website has gone up with a very intriguing and important message. The site, Patriots for America is organizing w hat could be the march on Washington that all of the others have been a lead up to. The anger...
Jan
28
(2 comments  |  discussions )
\\r\\n   & nbsp;   &n bsp;  Leonard Peltier ( LPDOC ) :\\r\\n        & nbsp;    Remembering Pete Seeger\\r\\n\\r\\n & nbsp;   &n bsp;   &nb sp;&nb...
Jan
23
(1 comments  |  discussions )
\\nZen Whisperingtree has been suspended from Care2, in my opinion unjustly, for criticizing the Support staff.  Although her profile page has been deleted/blocked, her sharebook is so far still available at http://www.care2.com/c2c/ share/shareboo...
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\\nTalking with your kids about drugs is something that you probably dread yet you know it has to be done. What better drug to start with than marijuana – a popular drug that’s under intense debate right now in the United States...
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\\nThink weight lifting is just for men? Think again. There’s a strong body of evidence to show that women can see benefits from lifting weights like improving overall health and warding off a variety of age-related ailments. Here are seven ways ...
Jan
22
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\nReligious conservatives know they are losing the marriage equality fight, but they have a plan so they can keep discriminating against gay couples and it involves our old friend “religious freedom.” The Religious Right is still in a spin...
Jan
21
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\\r\\n   & nbsp;  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - Honored & Remembered\\r\\n\\r\\n&nb sp;    i\\\'m sharing this link to quotes and images of MLK\\r\\n  &nbs p;   to inspire \\r\\n\\r\\n  & nbsp; &n...
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\\nWatching Russia’s roll-back on gay rights unfold, one strand has started to emerge: it’s apparently all about the children. Why is this, and why is it so dangerous? Last week Russia’s President Vadimir Putin attempted to soothe fea...
(0 comments  |  0 discussions )
\\nAnimal welfare advocates cheered when US officials appeared to take a tough stance against the shark finning industry during an environmental trade agreement talk between international leaders in Bangkok in March of 2013. Now, that stance may be und...