George Monbiot in his blog “The Great Unmentionable” once again powerfully articulates the insanity of consumerism -the relentless drive by governments, media and corporates to encourage us all to not only maintain our spending on foolish things, but to increase it.
Monbiot points out that it is not heating lighting and transport which are the predominant carbon emission culprits-it is the “stuff’ we buy – which increasingly is produced for “us’ Westerners by ‘those’ people over there.
In its quest for economic growth and more wealth for the wealthy, corporates attempt to even commodify nature; where would we be for instance without our little sticky labels on our fruit and veges, not knowing which international conglomerate had marketed that piece of produce?
But by far the most insidious aspect of consumption of “stuff” is the central part it plays in the relentless destruction of the natural world- the loss of natural habitat, the annihilation of species after species, for more pieces of short-lived pieces of ‘stuff ‘ that no human will want in a year or so.
The environment may be able to be resurrected after the factories have been pulled down, as some artificial and dumbed-down version of true nature -but without the ever-growing list of extinct species that can never return to us.
As our species becomes more and more urbanised, we lose our awareness of our indelible link with nature; our capacity to just watch and listen and wonder at the glorious real world around us ; our heads down watching ‘smartphone” screens or plugged in to our latest preference for noise on our mp3 player. We become immune to the beauty and randomness and unexpectedness of nature of which we are an integral member-and have blinded ourselves to that reality.
Instead of being open and alive to new and unexpected events and situations, we increasingly self-select our perception of the world from an ever-narrowing mechanical IT menu driven by our past experience.
We lose our connectedness to the world around us-our inherent knowledge that we are transient fragile beings like all other sentient things on this planet: that we are different-but no better- than all the other species we live with.
A great little article on international debt and how it fuels the crazy cycle of “growth” by Dinyar Godrej at the New Internationalist
The standard response to the current financial crisis has been to punish the presumed debtors. Are the creditors blameless, then? asks Dinyar Godrej.
It’s almost a reflex. Think about debt and we think first about something owed. Then come secondary considerations of whether it ‘should’, ‘ought’ or ‘must’ be paid back, how this should happen, and whether possible.
Large outstanding personal debts – say a mortgage taken out during a housing bubble – can turn even the stoutest of us into ‘quivering insomniac jellies of hopeless indebtedness’ (as Margaret Atwood so accurately puts it). Debt is, we feel, whatever the rights or wrongs, ‘our own fault’.
We can’t help it, we are socialized to take such a moral view of debt.