Monday, May 7, 2012

Waste Not, Want Not

Feeling the need to continue on the theme of waste.

Is it because we have too much? If things were a little more scarce, would we care more and waste less? If things were as precious as they really should be? If things cost more? The fact that we CAN walk in to any store any day mostly any minute and have everything at our fingertips, is that making us somehow feel that it's OK to waste? (Cuz it's not.) Are things too easily accessible, that we have forgotten the value of all things? And things we break are so cheap and replaceable, we end up not taking care of them as much. Eh, so what, go get another.

Are we clear?
Having a massive surplus of *stuff* is a sign of prosperity. We're doin' OK. The economy is crap, people don't have jobs, but darn it the shelves are stocked so we feel safe. We aren't going to run out of stuff. Warm fuzzies. Comfort. Having just enough isn't good enough. Wanting and not being able to have... very bad. That would be a sign that we can't have everything we want when we want it, and being left wanting means we are not safe. We're not OK. Kids crying because all their immediate needs aren't being met. But we're adults. We can realize we are OK even if the sheer inconvenience of a store being out of my favorite dressing should happen to me. I'm OK. I move on. Is it ok for us to stop making SO much stuff? So we stop consuming and wasting so much stuff? Can't just enough, be enough?

How did we get here? Is it the commercialism from the television era telling us to want more more more? If we can't have it all, then our lives are empty? I'm reminded of the show Hoarders, which, for some reason, and no reason that I can explain to my husband, who just shakes his head, is my favorite guilty pleasure to watch. We know why people hoard: they are trying to fill something they cannot inside themselves, and usually avoiding FEELING something. It's like, "Oh no! I'm about to feel bad about this! Quick, buy something so I feel better! Safer! I don't want to have to feel bad!!!" Stuff makes us feel like everything will be OK, but it's not. It's not OK. And you know what? It's OK to NOT be OK. We get past it. Shit happens. Our worlds will not end.

Will gaps or a few empty shelves in stores make us uneasy? Pop our little bubble of the American idea of progress and prosperity? Make us think we're in Russia? That collapse of modern society as we know it is upon us? I don't have an answer. this is just something that has me thinking. Can we stop to think about it? We have, buy, consume, waste too much. How do we stop it? How do we get back to simple frugality that made sense and was so much better all around? Do we need to have some large-scale disaster fall upon us to make us change?

I hope that's not what it takes, but I just don't know what else has to give. I just don't.

All I know is we have to start treating things, all things, as much more precious than we currently do. Does that mean higher prices, so we don't dare waste as much? Do we waste because stuff is cheap and we can?

Can we stop?