What have you done today to lower your impact?

We are washing away the foundations of our existence on every front. It is high time we move from crashing about on the planet like a bull in china shop and find a way to go forward with intent. We must find systems of living based on sustainability. The systems and tools exist, it is up to each of us to adopt them.

Blog Archive

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Sheffield Star online post #3 - by Robb

Here's the next post from my Sheffield Star online Green Scene column.

Beyond Consumerism?

"We are at a stage in human history that is as monumental as changing from a hunter/gatherer society to an agricultural society and from an agricultural society to an industrial society. ...We need to face the way we used the world for our gains, pleasures, satisfactions. ... we need to change our view about acquiring things. We have the opportunity to take a great leap forward in these very challenging times. We need to change our institutions and ourselves. ...We need to launch our imaginations beyond the thinking of the past. ...That's how we change the world... because WE will be the change."
- Grace Lee Boggs, 93, a long-time Detroit activist and philosopher.

2030, imagine a scenario where you live in a completely different way than you do now. Your home doesn’t generate bills it generates power. Your bin only needs emptying once every month because you generate almost no waste. The clothes you wear are designed for practicality and durability and are rarely replaced. The food you eat is grown very close to where you live, some of it by yourself, the rest of it by your neighbors or farmers you know. You work either from home or within an easy walk or bus ride. You don’t need or own a car. As a result of all of the above your bank account doesn’t hemorrhage your hard earned pay but creates income because you have minimal debt. And best of all your choice to live this way along with all of your neighbors has supported the worldwide grassroots movement away from crippling dependance on fossil fuels and has helped to significantly reduced carbon emissions, stabilizing global climate. All of this is possible with current technology and current knowledge. All of this is happening currently. Don’t wait for 2030. You can take steps towards it now.

There are many benefits but perhaps chief among them is that this new style of life involves less stress, more time to spend with loved ones and neighbors, time for cooking and eating healthy food, exercising, and building a healthy community. It is a lifestyle based around long term sustainability, good health, and the development of human potential for all citizens.

Studies abound pointing out that the current cult of consumerism involves much less of the above, but who needs scientific research to prove what is evident to any who care to see it. Too many hours of the day are spent earning and spending money as our class based lifestyles rely on debt. Stress related illness is rife, obesity and ill health are at pandemic proportions due to poor nutrition and minimal exercise. The divide between rich and poor, educated and ignorant, healthy and sick is widening. And worst of all, the ecosystems that support our very existence are being sacrificed to support this short term pleasure based individualistic lifestyle. It is unsustainable. There is literally no future in it.

Every step you take towards a sustainable life is progress but small steps are not enough. As I pointed out in my second post of this series we are in a tight spot.

For more about that, download the WWF report “Weathercocks and Signposts”
We have a very short time to make very big changes.

In the next post I will look in more detail at some characteristics of a sustainable lifestyle.

For more about Grace Lee Boggs see:

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