Net Worth = Self Worth

After reading Durning’s article on Limiting Consumption,  I have become more aware of  my personal consumption habits. Durning made a valid point when he stated. “After all, much of what we consume is wasted or unwanted in the first place”. I began to think about how much water I consume on a daily basis. I realize that my daily water consumption is greater than the amount that I actually need. Over Consumption is bad for the environment, but under-consumption is hazardous for the natural world.  The solution is to find a balance to determine how much is considered to be enough. We may not be able to answer the questions that arise, but we should at least attempt to find answers in order to sustain the entire world.

The United States, Japan, and West Europeans have increased consumption because of our advanced technological age. There has been an increase in earnings and cheaper goods, which equates to more consumption, and the removal of trade barriers and the collapse of socialist governments in Eastern Europe have contributed to the consumption dilemma. We are all aware of what we need to do to sustain the environment, and yet we find it very difficult to come up with conclusive solutions. We are faced with the rest of the world trying to emulate the American lifestyle. If this yearning were to become a reality, we would not be able to support the American lifestyle on a global level, and this would lead to our extinction. We know that we need to rebuild human character, with the focus being the whole of society vs. the individual. We need to learn how to be happy without the use of material things. Additionally, we need to set practical knowledge on living by ethical principles, with the focus being self constraints and non material enrichment. We must go back to a simpler lifestyle. These concepts are new to me, and I find them enlightening.

We have taken certain steps to deal with the use of over consumption, such as focusing on shopping malls that are customized for the community, instead of continuing to create sterile retail outlets. There have also been some governmental regulations to stem the tide of over consumption. The quote that resonates with me is “ A man is a rich in proportion to the things he can afford to let alone.”

This article is useful and relevant to me because I am conscious that if we all try to live like Americans, this will lead to the demise of humanity. Consumption is rapidly increasing.  It is important that each generation should maintain its needs without jeopardizing the prospects of future generations.  If we live by this principle it can help to create a sustainable culture. The burden is on us to preserve this environment for future generations.

I was stimulated after reading about over consumption, and this enticed me to do further research. I came across an article of a group of eco-minded people who call themselves Freegans, whose purpose is to find and consume food that has been thrown out. They search through garbage bins of restaurants and other food related industries, remove what they think is fit for consumption, and eat it!  A very innovative conservative idea! I would like to know more about the Freegans, and how I could possibly start a group to manage over consumption in my area. This information would empower me to be pro active in preserving my environment.

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