Happy Earth Day!

Yesterday I was at a birthday party for my nephew and the talk turned to different cultures  and how we disagree with some of the things that go on in different parts of the world and I got to thinking about that.

My daughter made a comment last week about how much we as North Americans consume, it went something like this – if the whole world consumed as much as North Americans do we would need five planet earths to sustain everyone. I’m not sure how accurate that statement is, however, I don’t think we can deny that North Americans consume way more than their fair share of the earth’s resources.

Oh sure, the rain forest’s are suffering, and some countries have out of control pollution but we here in North America are totally out of control when it comes to consumption and we have no idea about restraint when it comes to using the earth’s resources. It seems that everyone wants the newest gadget that comes out, we buy new furniture because we are tired of what we have.

Gone are the days when you bought a new table because yours was falling apart, now we buy a new one because something nicer has come out. It used to be that families had one main car, if they found they needed a second car you went out and bought a “beater” , now families have two new cars and then when your kids get old enough to drive they get a car as well.

My daughter commented a few days ago on how sad it is that the HOV lanes only require two people to be in the car in order to legally drive in that lane. Two people is considered high occupancy?

One of my main goals in life is to leave this planet a little better than when I came into it but I can honestly say that I don’t even know how to do that. I think my perspective on consumerism is so skewed by what goes on around me that I don’t even really know what over – consumption is. What I think is living a meager lifestyle would be considered abundance in most parts of the world.

I suppose the answer is to do my best  and take baby steps to reduce my carbon footprint. I believe every little bit helps, if we all do a little it will make a big impact.

I’ve read recently that the problem with eco- friendly products is that people use them and then just consume more. I know that there are ways to produce energy that does not use fossil fuels but perhaps the will is not there yet to mass produce, but I’m confident that one day it will be.

Today is Earth Day, I went to Starbucks today for a coffee and was pleasantly surprised when I asked how much I owed and she said, “it’s free, today is Earth Day and if you get a coffee with your tumbler, it’s free”.  I was pretty pleased with myself because I didn’t specifically bring my reusable coffee mug because of that, it’s just what I do. It will be a good day when the majority of people do that. I also went to Starbucks mostly because they really promote using a tumbler, Ok, I admit I’m addicted to their blonde roast as well but they really do promote bringing your own mug. They have signs throughout the store reminding you to bring your own mug to save resources.  I find Tim Horton’s promotion of throw away cups really sad, they really have to find a better promotion than Roll Up the Rim. Does anyone really know what they do with the cups they ask you to put in their re-cycling bins? I won’t get into that, the subject is a blog post for the future.

So as much as we have opinions on what goes on around the world and how we don’t agree with a lot of it, we really need to look at what we do as well and all try to leave this world a little better than the way we found it.

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