Sunday, August 21, 2016

How Much Is Enough

Live more simply so that others may simply live
To sustain a livable environment, all basic human needs must be met as sufficient steady state stocks of natural capital are maintained. Guaranteeing a basic income as the greed of the billionaire class is tamed are keys to avoiding biosphere collapse and the end of being.
Conspicuous over-consumption by some as others fester in abject poverty is killing us all as we liquidate our shared biological inheritance for throw-away consumer crap... This perilous state of global inequity begs the question how much is enough? - Dr. Glen Barry
Despite being more aware than many of the perilous ecological condition of the planet, like most I am drawn by the siren call of affluenza. The variety of consumer goods and their marketing are so pervasive that it is hard to not succumb to the illusion that material items equate with happiness and well-being.

And while I try hard to weigh the impacts of personal expenditures on the planet and its life, and whether the purchase of a particular item is necessary, it is just so damn difficult to resist the desire to meet everyday whims and consume more, and not feel somehow disadvantaged if more stuff cannot be had.

My unmet desires for electronics, a new wardrobe, and travel of course pale in importance to the billions who struggle to meet basic needs. The fact that one billion people live in abject poverty on less than $1.50 a day continues to stun me. Given the networked nature of the world it is very unlikely that a just, sustainable and livable Earth can long persist with such imbalances.

Being married to a Papua New Guinean, and having lived in this Pacific Island’s villages for many years, I understand that exclusion from the money economy does not mean that existence cannot be rich in community, experience, leisure and the wealth found in a well tilled garden. It is important to differentiate between self-sufficiency and dispossession in those that are materially poor.

But the truth remains that billions of people’s basic needs for medicine, food, comfort, and a few select luxuries continue to go unmet; as others slovenly conspicuously over-consume. Jet set celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio warn us climate is real as they gallivant around the world with pals in private yachts and jets spewing emissions for leisure, setting a bad example. Many of us in the developed world’s middle class live lives of consumption beyond the kings and queens of yesteryear, yet rarely is our desire for more satiated.

Conspicuous over-consumption by some as others fester in abject poverty is killing us all as we liquidate our shared biological inheritance  for throw-away consumer crap.

[Continue reading at EcoInternet]

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