Friday, April 20, 2012

Climate Matters. R is for Responsibility.

This post is for R in the A-Z Blogging Challenge 2012. Link in the sidebar.

We've all heard the motto; Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and they are well worth remembering, however there is far more to our consumption of goods that needs to be addressed for us to regain a balanced, happier way of life.

Our addiction to a hyper consumptive lifestyle is a modern ailment, and as we all know, addictions can be very hard to break. However, our privileged lifestyle comes with responsibilities, and for our wellbeing, as well as for our planet and the other peoples who call this Earth home, this addiction needs to be tackled with courge, strength and the confidence that breaking it will bring us many benefits.

This excerpt comes from Kristen Kiluk at the Michigan Daily here

(my bold) "Retailing analyst Victor Lebow wrote in 1955, as the post-World War II consumer society was really taking off: "Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life ... we need things consumed, burned up, replaced and discarded at an ever-accelerating rate." Even Consumer Reports, the bible for buying quality, long-lasting goods, advised us to replace, rather than try to reapir, a broken laptop it is's more than four years old."

If you haven't watched this video, please try to make a point of setting aside a mere 20 minutes. If you have children watch it with them. It is simply remarkable. I can almost guarantee you won't be disappointed. In an upbeat, interesting way, in pictures and words, it covers the story of goods from extraction to production, distribution, consumption and finally disposal. It discusses the impact of our consumptive habits on societies, cultures, the economy and our environment.

We've been encouraged by manufacturers and with the assistance of the advertising industry to seek inner satisfaction and feed our souls with consumption of goods that aren't necessary for health or survival. And so over a period of around 50 years or so, we've gone from being respectful of the amount of time it takes to earn an income and being resourceful, careful and thrifty to experiencing an almost constant lust for new, shiny things. We've been encouraged to be dissatisfied with ourselves for living within our means, to see having "enough" as inadequate. As when we overeat and, as a result feel bloated and ill, over consumption of goods is initially satisfying, but ultimately leaves us feeling emotionally empty and dissatisfied.

We are resourceful beings, and with a bit of time spent reassessing values and priorities it is possible to wean ourselves off the consumption band-wagon and remove the leash that has kept us tethered to it, and ultimately live a more balanced life.

Related posts: No thank you!  (here) and P is for Plastics (here).

Last year I wrote about Responsibility for R in my theme on workplace bullying Here and Reliable here.



Anonymous said...

It's funny but the older I get the more I have the urge to purge.

sue said...

Delores, I love your rhyme there, I'm (almost) inspired to write a drabble incorporating those words :)

Manzanita said...

What a post. I'm pulling out my hair trying to dispose. Grrrrr 80 years is toooo long to collect things. I need to be rid of stuff and this house by July.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sue .. I've kept the post to watch the video next week I hope.

As I read .. I thought about my early life, but more importantly that of my parents, uncles etc .. , and the way they kept everything (war 'demands') .. which would always come in handing somewhere down the line .. bits of string, old newspaper for fertilising, nylons for tying plants up, brown paper for wrapping .. etc etc etc ..

Absolutely we do need to reuse, recycle, reduce and work out if you absolutely need that new item.

Cheers - great series this is making .. Hilary