March 21, 2018

Spring Joins Us Together

Replica of H. D. Thoreau’s 150 sq. ft. cabin at Walden Farm, where the author was born in 1817.

"The setting sun is reflected from the windows as brightly as from the rich man's abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there, and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace." 

- Henry David Thoreau

Spring weather comes slowly to the Atlantic coast, but that today is officially the first full day of spring is undeniable. We have not had our first robin or hummingbird yet, but I have been watching the Sun slowly move from its winter resting place in the south toward where it is today - setting directly on the western point of the compass.

As the Sun continues its path north things will warm and our days will stretch out in a joyous northern celebration of not having to worry about your tongue sticking to cold metal objects any more.

Light, heat, and life return. We made it through another winter.

Spring/Fall equinox is always a special event, in that it creates a brief global photonic equality. Equinox means "equal night" which also means equal day. On the day of an equinox, daytime and nighttime are of approximately equal duration all over the planet.

It doesn't matter who you are, or where you are, you enjoy the same sunlight as everyone else today.

That joins us all together, and I like that.

Happy spring/fall, everyone.

March 20, 2018

Justifying Overconsumption

Overconsumption hurts everyone. It can not be justified.

Getting people to buy stuff they don't need is very profitable. Therefore, hundreds of billions of dollars is spent every year to get us to want things we don't need. Needs are altered by this well funded marketing machine, and over time we come to need some of the things we didn't used to need.

In order to keep the whole con going, wants must become needs. Consequently, consumer culture comes up with all kinds of ready made excuses for our high consumption buying habits.

We are enabled by insidious advertising slogans. Remember "Shop till you Drop"? Or "Whoever dies with the most toys wins"?

Wow, those are sounding pretty dumb in 2018.

So how do we live with ourselves when that voice deep inside gives us the reminder that to use more when less would suffice is a crime against the Earth and everything on it? We make excuses in order to perpetuate our ongoing denial.

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

- “I deserve it.” No, you really don't. You deserve food, clothing, shelter, love, freedom, and opportunities to realize your true potential as a compassionate human being, and nothing else. No one deserves to take more than their fair share of the planet's resources.

- “I work hard.” As Marla commented here on Inter. Women's Day, "If working hard was the only factor, African women would be billionaires." Yup. So you work hard. Way to go.

- “I would die without it.”, or "I would rather die without it." No, you won't die without bacon. Or a car that goes 300km/hr. Or an exotic vacation. You might wish you were dead for a while, but you'll get over it. Really.

- "If I don't buy it, someone else will." Not necessarily. What if more and more people stop buying things they don't need? Manufacturers will stop making them. The Earth will smile.

- "I will look poor if I don't have lots of stuff." No. But you might look like a minimalist. Still, I would rather look poor than look selfish and out of touch with ecological reality.

- Who wouldn't want nice things?" The best nice things are not things that can be bought. If the nice things you have all come from stores, you might want to reassess your actual quality of life.

- "I can afford it." But our planet can not. Neither can the millions of people living in poverty. Or wildlife. Or our forests. Or oceans. You might be able to afford it, but We can't.

We should not be justifying our poor consumption habits this late in the game. Today, there are no innocents. Information is too easy to access, and we can all easily learn the facts surrounding how our excessive consumer habits are fuelling ecological crises around the planet.

There are no longer excuses, only lame excuses. Wealth does not change the fact, or amount, of your fair share of resources. To expect more, with this many people on the planet, is an unhealthy obsession fuelled by a dying culture of "more at any cost or consequence".

In 2018 one can no longer justify engaging in a lifestyle that needlessly wastes valuable resources in an orgy of overconsumption. We know it doesn't make us happier, so the logical solution would be to stop doing it.

As soon as possible.

For everyone's benefit, including your own.

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