Some questions about our lifestyle & attitudesWith grateful thanks to the Simple Living Collective of the American SOCIETY OF FRIENDS
How much is enough?
- Sugar-coated breakfast cereals & deodorants for every part of the body?
- Freeways, smog, traffic jams, & car accidents?
- Redwood trees & River Red Gums?
- Unemployment, unused skills & creativity?
- Intimacy & deep friendship?
- Direct & effective participation in important political & economic decisions?
And for what purpose?
- So that we can have more things while enjoying them less?
- To increase the profits & power of a small group of corporate & financial institutions & power brokers?
- To help us become healthier, more aware, & more loving people?
- To increase the opportunities for sharing, co-operation, & self-reliance in our society?
These questions are hard to answer, because most of us have been effectively taught not to question the underlying values, like:
- Bigger is better
- Newest is best
- Experts & elected officials are the best decision makers; the rest of us do not (& cannot) know enough to question what they do
- Science & technology will solve all of the really serious problems
- Anyway, there is no such thing as enough; everyone will become more prosperous if we learn to produce & consume more.
- What do we know about how the food we eat & the activities we engage in every day affect our health? How do our patterns of consumption & living arrangements affect the health of people in other parts of the world? And the environment?
- How many things do we own which cost over $150? (the approximate annual income of the poorest third of the world's population)? What possibilities exist for sharing such resources with others?
- What are the influences that determine our eating habits & those of our children?
- How much meat do we eat? Can the amount be reduced? Should it be?
- Outside school, what three activities involve most of our children's time & energy? Are they passive or active? Are they dependent on things, or on other people, in order to happen? To what extent do they consume non-replaceable resources & energy?
- How could we become more self-reliant this week?
- What can we do to increase facilities in our neighbourhood for non-consumerist & co-operative play? Can children be involved in designing & building their own parks & play equipment in our area? In inventing their own games? What could we do to help facilitate this?
- What kinds of human-scale co-operative institutions can we develop to provide products & services for which we now depend on multinational corporations? How can such institutions be structured to encourage community participation & thus help bring people together? Can they be designed to encourage other community-controlled enterprises to develop out of them?
- How difficult is it to find & purchase unprocessed & organically grown foods in our area, as opposed to processed & perhaps poisoned foods? Are individual or community gardens a viable alternative for us? How about food co-ops or conspiracies?
- How would we like to see our savings invested? Do banks, insurance companies, pension funds, & the like pursue ethical objectives? Do we have any control over these institutions? What alternatives either exist or can be developed?
- Do we know which goods & services we use every day would not be available in the absence of cheap labour & raw materials from poor countries? Can we do without or find substitutes for such things? What political & economic measures can we promote to bring about equitable compensation for such resources & the labour involved in their production?
- What changes are needed in our Government policies, business practices & personal consumption in order for us to consume less energy? How do these changes relate to each other? Is the individual consumer responsible for the bulk of energy consumption in this country? if not, who is?
Do we think our way of life can be maintained at its present level of resource consumption indefinitely? Who would benefit? Who would suffer? What can we do about it?
More in this series:.......Buying Instead of Being.......Food.......Clothes.......Return to list
The Shakertown Pledge.......Simple Gifts
Rough Guide to site.......Site Map
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