Thursday, July 28, 2011

Reflections on Simplicity and Consumerism

Two of my grandchildren came to stay for a couple of nights. They are such cool kids and it's so nice to have a little boy sit on my knee and give me a cuddle again - my own boys are too grown up for that now. A walk on the beach with two kids and a dog is a simple pleasure but one of the best.

But is it a simple pleasure really? The 15 minute drive to the beach involved my van, petrol, money. For how much longer will we be able to do that?

I've been reading - sometimes I think that's a big mistake! A bit of transition town / lifeboat politics on the Transition Towns pages and several off shoots from there, then one of my favourite bloggers (she's a book artist too and also "a permaculture-inclined, organically arty, gardenista creek-mumma....") wrote about simple living sending me off to Amazon to buy another Kindle book. Then there's the news and weather filled with uncertainty about the world's climatic / financial / social / psychological / (fill in the blank) future. So everyone waits for someone else to fix things. There are people out there trying to make their / our world a little better, but most just go on mindlessly consuming, avoiding thinking about the future.

Is it a problem? I remember back in the early 1960s, lying awake at night waiting for the Cold War to end and for the bombs to start falling - but it didn't happen. Are these current problems going to fade away too? Can we take a chance on that?

Out at The Base I looked around and was struck by the vastness of the place. The car park was almost full - and their web site informs me they have 2,600 parking spaces. Many, I'm sure, were awaiting the return of more than one person. So many people shopping for what? Necessities? Or cheap junk made in third world countries by underpaid and badly treated almost-slaves?

But such a bargain!

 And if you think I'm getting at you, well, maybe I'd like you to think about these things too, but really this writing is a form of self-flagellation because LOOK at the bargain I got: a really pretty scarf made in India from 100% viscose and reduced to $10.

I should be ashamed of myself. I am.

I fear the time will come, sooner rather than later, when most of us will be scavenging amongst the rubbish for something useful, but will mostly find trash as useful as a cigarette butt to a sparrow.

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