You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need
It’s time we stopped turning up our noses at the nation’s garbage dumps and started appreciating them for what they really are – the municipal mines, forests, oil wells and energy sources of the future
- Max Spendlove
Do you have any idea what it’s like trying to breathe with a plastic bag over your head?
- Dr. Luisa Delgado (TV series, Strong Medicine)
In 2005 the wealthiest 20% of the world accounted for 76.6% of total private consumption, while the poorest fifth accounted for 1.5%. Runaway growth in consumption patterns in the past 50 years is putting undeniable strains on the environment, and exacerbating inequalities. We consume resources and products unnecessary for basic needs to include luxury items and technological innovations to try to improve efficiency. How we consume, and for what purposes drives how we extract resources, create products and produce pollution and waste. Consumption can be wasteful on resources, society and capital, and it’s roots are linked to poverty. Political causes of poverty are very much related to issues and roots of consumerism.
Did you know?
- “Reducing consumption without reducing use is a costly delusion. If undeveloped countries consumed at the same rate as the US, four complete planets the size of the Earth would be required. People who think that they have a right to such a life are quites mistaken.”
- “Americans eat 815 billion calories of food each day – that’s roughly 200 billion more than needed – enough to feed 80 million people”
- “Americans throw out 200,000 tones of edible food daily.”
- “The average American generated 52 tons of garbage by age 75.”
- “80% of the corn grown and 95% of the outs are fed to livestock.”
- “There are more shopping malls than high schools.”
- Individual: reduce consumption and reuse goods to reduce landfill waste. Research your producers and know where your food and goods are coming from and if they are Fair Trade or USDA Organic.
- Local: support your local economy and community through buying locally (farmer’s market, etc). Teach your community the issues associated with modern consumption.
- National/Global: make each purchase a vote and support socially and environmentally equitable corporations. Lobby to encourage political change to ban corporations who violate human rights and environmental justice.
Davis (Local resources)
Davis Food Coop: supports socially responsible producers.
Farmer’s Market: every Saturday morning, the Farmer’s Market is a community event in which farmer’s sell their socially responsible, and mostly local and organic produce.
Garden Plot: grow your own food at the Experimental College Gardens.
SPCA Thrift Store: reuse!
Students for Sustainable Agriculture & Project Compost: get involved on campus with one of these two groups.
Student Farm: UC Davis student-run farm
UC Davis Meatlab: buy your meat at a great price from this research facility run through UC Davis where the meat is locally raised in an equitable manner.
Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough and Michael Braungart
A Better World Handbook by Ellis Jones
Farmer in Chief by Michael Pollan (NY Times Article)
American Wasteland by Jonathon Bloom
A Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver
Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal by Tristram Stuart
The Lorax by Dr. Suess
Better World Shopper: designed to influence the way consumers spend their money based on a set of ethical metrics used to rank various companies.
Questions to ponder
1. How do you, as a consumer, draw the line in terms of how much you are willing to pay for the total cost as well (would you be willing to pay more if you knew other people were paying more as well)?
2. Are lists, such as the one above, or labels, such as “organic,” truly sustainable? Does sustainability require individuals to think (instead of responding to a label)?
3. Summarize your conversations with farmer/grocery store clerk and describe how they relate to your connection with your food source.
4. How does farming influence the farmer’s connection to his/her food?
5. How does knowing where your food comes from influence your shopping habits?
“Listen up, you couch potatoes: each recycled beer can saves enough electricity to run a television for three hours” – Denis Hayes
This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 at 10:31 pm and is filed under Paid Positions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.