From Consumerism to Sustainability

May 17, 2010  
Filed under Pastiche

Did anyone notice when luxury items became necessities?  One prime example is a cell phone.  I hate talking on cell phones and use mine only when absolutely necessary.  That equates to one or two calls a month; if that many.  My family and friends know that it’s an exercise in futility to try to reach me on my cell phone, unless it’s a matter of life and death.

Another example of what  was once a luxury item is Internet connection. It doesn’t seem that long ago when we thought having a dial-up internet connection was a luxury item.  Now high-speed internet connection/Wi-Fi is a necessity… as is processed convenient foods, disposable diapers, hair/clothes dryers, and for the vast majority of kids; iPod, iTouch, iTunes and now the iPad.  Consumerism has propelled us  from an iNeed culture to an iMustHave culture.

It’s been said that “comparison leads to unhappiness.”  If that’s true, then, for the most part, we will always be unhappy since there will always be some “New and Improved” item that we will want to have because someone else has it. And, being creatures of habit, this new thing will become a necessity in life.   Whether we can afford it or not, we will buy it (products, cars, homes with large mortgages, etc.).

I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic lately; Sustainability.  Mostly because someone I’m very close to has been trying for the better part of a year now to convince me to relocate to an area of the country where the cost of living isn’t sky-high the way it is where I now live, and that I should get back to the basics in life.  He’s also of the mindset that no one should have to depend on getting their food from large grocery store chains, where food products are constantly being recalled due to contamination of some sort.  I believe he makes several valid points, yet I seem to be having a difficult time letting go of the lifestyle I’ve become used to — regardless of the fact that it’s creating unnecessary stress in my life.  But I’m working on it. Seriously working on it.

I came across an interesting Website this morning you may want to take a look at: State of the World 2010: Transforming Cultures.  Their mission, as posted on their site, is: “Worldwatch Institute delivers the insights and ideas that empower decision makers to create an environmentally sustainable society that meets human needs. Worldwatch focuses on the 21st-century challenges of climate change, resource degradation, population growth, and poverty by developing and disseminating solid data and innovative strategies for achieving a sustainable society.”  A core belief is that only way for  humanity to thrive long into the future is to orient our cultures on sustainability, not consumerism.

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