Friday, October 24, 2008

Consume Less!

I was wondering what photo to use in this post of mine when I chanced upon the photo below: an outdoor toilet or 'jamban' in Pulau Ubin.

'How appropriate!' - I thought - abstract but absolutely dramatic! It brings to bear the 'shit-house' of a dwelling place we have built for ourselves through consumeristic wanton-ness and consequential waste in an otherwise sustainable earth.

To be true, our 'jamban' may be small (considering how insignificant the human species is in the scheme of earthly life), but our self-destructive hunger for more leaves no corner of the earth unfouled. And this is exactly what modern society tells us to do day-in-day-out: it tells us to CONSUME more and more, BUY more and more!

The following short film by Leo Murray and an essay by James Gustave Speth - 'Environmental Failure: A Case for a new Green Politics' - tell us what we CAN and MUST do. Simply put, we are being called to revolutionary actions beyond our personal footprint-watch.

Short Film: Wake Up, Freak Out - then Get a Grip

James Gustave Speth: 'Environmental Failure: A Case for a new Green Politics'

Here's an excerpt from the short film (written by Leo Murray):

"There is no great mystery about what we need to do to reduce emissions in line with the science; we simply need to consume less.
But that is out of the question in a society which is founded on the ever-increasing consumption of materials and energy.
Nobody has all of the answers; but we do know that this is not the only way to live, and given that it is almost certainly going to kill us all, we had better start looking urgently at some of the alternatives. It is now very clear that in order to actually win the fight against climate change, making big changes to the way we each live our own lives is not going to be enough; we’re also going to have to actively confront powerful vested interests who will stop at nothing to prevent the changes we need from taking place. We have to be more than just consumers.
These are extraordinary times. Preventing runaway global warming is the single most important task in all of human history – and it has fallen to us to do it. If we don’t, then everything else we work to achieve in our lives will be destroyed, or become meaningless. Those who came before us didn't know about this problem, and those who come after will be powerless to do anything about it. But for us, there's still time! We'd better get a move on though."

CONSUMING LESS - it is the only way to go.

Read also New Scientist: Endless Growth is Folly


Joe Lai

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