Overconsumption is crippling our country

For all our anxieties over economic recession, the major problem in the U.S. continues to be overconsumption. Our consumption patterns are hurting us, and they are now jeopardizing all life the world over.

Industry itself is the culprit. Industry, which produces the “goods” we buy, the synthetic products, the techno gadgets, the disposable “this’s and that’s”, the unhealthy fast and processed foods we ingest.

We’ve grown up thinking of our country as possessing unlimited resources, of which it is our “right” to consume. The reason for our overconsumption is us. We spend billions to fight diseases that solely exist because of our consumption habits. Health wise we are an obese nation, yet 40 percent of the food we buy never makes it to our lips. Drugs help us cope. Working electronics get tossed when new models come out every year. The philosophy “more is better” resonates on all levels. Isn’t it time to be satisfied with less? If the consumer refuses to be manipulated, and makes wise choices that are not based on advertising, we could mend.

Our grandiose notions of what is “enough,” conditioned by the “Madison Avenue” mentality, demands we earn more, eat more, spend more and own more, at whatever the cost to our health and environment. The countless clues are subtle ones, a heart attack at forty, severe asthma in a child, genetically engineered food.

The signals register one by one in our minds, like those red signs on the freeway. “Turn back, you’re going the wrong way.” Do we listen, or continue on down the road?

LAURIE WADKINS

Priest River

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