Saturday, May 22, 2010

More Than We Need

More Than We Need

As I write this, countless gallons of oil are leaking out of a hole in the Gulf of Mexico due to BP’s practice of off-shore drilling for oil.

The leak is bigger than reported, and it’s reached the marshlands of the East Coast of the United States.

This is a disaster of monumental proportions. And why? Why do we as a nation, a really great and majestic nation, allow this to happen? Because we squander? Because we’re not careful enough? There’s one simple reason. We use, we take, we waste more than we need.

We have an attitude of entitlement in the USA. If we work hard enough, we can have as much as we want. If we don’t earn a lot, we can still go to the “all you can eat” buffet and take as much food as you desire. Even if we just taste it all and throw the rest out. Or if we eat it all so we don’t waste, then we’ve simply used our bodies as a disposal unit. I’m guilty of this too. It’s there, we’ve paid for it, we deserve it.

We have to redecorate, redress, replace, and own multiple homes and vehicles. Why? It’s fun. Shouldn’t we be able to update our wardrobe, keep a new car in the driveway, and replace our furniture every few years even if it’s still functional?

Why do we have this mindset? Why is there never enough? I’m no angel here, so I’m not holding myself above this. I have a big mortgage and a daughter in college. I drive a 16 year-old-car because I can have a new car or pay for my daughter’s school. I can have a new wardrobe and take vacations, or I can pay my mortgage. I can rescue a dog or go out to expensive restaurants. If I had the money that I don’t have now, I still don’t think I would get rid of my car. It still runs well. It’s been reliable for me, and I respect that. But if I had the money, I would take those vacations. I would buy those clothes. But for some people there is never enough. “There is never enough of that which does not satisfy.” “Things” and “food” can’t replace where there is a true deficiency. We, as individuals, need to internalize that.

Then there’s the corporate mindset where it becomes acceptable to treat our workers like dirt so we can enjoy greater profits. Where ROI is more important than humanity. We might still be making money, but we need more. We must have…more. Sell vaccines that are proven harmful or drugs that are dangerous because by the time they are taken off the market, fortunes have been amassed. Take away your employees healthcare, because even if the company is still profitable, you have to stay ahead, keep ahead, and accumulate more wealth.

I’m guilty of that too. Saving, growing, planning – but not at the expense of others.

It’s great that we’ve started to conserve and recycle more – but why do we still use so damn much? Why do IPODs have to be updated every year or so? Why do we still, in this day and age, plan obsolescence? Why do there have to be umpteen video game units? Sure, free enterprise. Technology advances. Understandable, but we are the ones who replace phones as if they were yesterday’s newspapers because the newer one has more bells and whistles.

I’m a believer in the law of attraction – to want more, to rise to your full potential and achieve your dreams. But something has gone awry. And I’m scared. This oil spill is contaminating our environment quicker than anyone thought possible; and we are powerless against it. Our president talks about all forms of energy availability and brings up the topic of nuclear power plants again. Have we not learned? Do we need a Three Mile Island or a Chernobyl reminder? I don’t care how safe you say those plants are – they’re created and run by humans, and we make mistakes. Lots of mistakes. And why even venture into this arena? Because we take more than we need. Because we have to have it all and then some. Maybe the time has come to scale back. I know that people want what they want, after all, they’ve worked for it. Does anyone need a home with thirty or more rooms? Or a television and computer in every room? And yes, I’m guilty of the computer thing, though not the televisions and certainly not the thirty rooms.

I’m sorry if this sounds like a downer – but I’m scared. I love the conveniences we have in modern day America. Heat, hot water, air conditioning, televisions, computers, cell phones are all amazing things! I love that I can drive anywhere in a 15-mile radius and buy anything I want. I’d have a screening room in my house if I could afford it. And one day, a new car. But when does it become excessive? And how do we stop it? Have we just grown too quickly to be able to handle it all? I don’t know the answer; I wish I did. But until we can figure out, maybe we just have to stop taking more than we need.

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