We Need to Question the Foundations of our Culture
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I’ve started to notice little things that just seem unbalanced. The amount of meat we eat and the brutal, disgusting farming methods that make it possible ensure that our food system is systematically poisoning not only us, but our environment as well. Our ever-growing greed for consumer goods means that we just burn through resources, only to send almost-new items to the trash heap as soon as we’re tired of them. Financially, our society demands we make money, go into debt, make more money to pay off that debt, only so we can acquire more debt, mainly in order to buy more things we don’t really need.
I cannot see how any of this will last.
The problem is not so much the issues themselves as the fact that we are trying to fix them by treating the symptoms rather than the original cause. Instead of questioning the wisdom of a consumerist mentality, we encourage people to consume “green” goods or those than are recyclable. Instead of reevaluating a food system that is poisoning our population, we simply rebrand it as low-fat, all natural, organic, or just green. Instead of seriously pursuing alternative forms of energy, we expend more and more resources to secure additional sources of oil. Perhaps he simply don’t need that much energy in the first place.
But God forbid we question the human right to expansion, progress, and growth.
Having done a little reading on the population crisis, I was confused that most serious discussions of the problem of world population growth focus on ways to make more room, more food, and more energy. In the classes and articles I’ve been exposed to, ways to limit or control growth were not even considered. It’s not that these options were simply ignored. They didn’t even occur to people!
Our world is addicted to some very dangerous and ultimately unsustainable ideas that form the foundation of our modern civilization. These ideas are not necessary for a culture to function, and they are not universal. But if we continue to follow them, instead of questioning the most basic underpinnings of Western civilization, I think we will find our civilization coming apart. It’s happened before. Many, many times. Why we think we are immune to environmental collapse when much less demanding civilizations have succumbed to it is beyond me.
Here are some alternative questions:
- Instead of asking what is the most fuel-efficient car you can buy, ask yourself if there is a way to live without a car at all.
- Instead of buying environmentally friendly products, try to just buy less overall.
- Instead of just trying to reduce your electricity bill, think about generating your own power or going off the grid.
- Instead of eating “green” versions of meat or processed foods, consider a diet change. Eat less meat, and make your own foods from whole ingredients.
I know there will be excuses for why all these alternatives are impossible. That is the point, after all: our society is set up in such a way to make the alternatives difficult or undesirable, at least within the context of social and cultural norms. It would mess everything up if people bought less. The economy would fall apart. But that’s only because the economy is set up on the wrong bases to begin with.
Thoughts and comments would be much appreciated.