Sunday, October 07, 2007

Affluence

The common mainstream environmental wisdom seems to connect poverty with environmental scarcity and degradation. As you might have noticed our text book never tires of making this point.
Does it really make sense to make such assertions in a world where we sell production cars for a $1,500,000.00 a copy, luxury cell phones fetch $17,000.00, swiss made watches go for over $25,000.00 a piece, a designer sofa retails for $30,000.00, an Atlantic City suit costs $10,000.00 a night and to top it all the NYC trend of buying an apartment for $6,000,000.00 only to turn around and spend a few millions on gutting it and redecorating it. Are such activities eco friendly ? Is this the world that we aspire to create? In my book, affluence is the problem and so it cannot be the solution. But hey, the remodeled apartment has triple glazed windows.

9 comments:

Leah said...

In my opinion money is the root of all evil. I always tell my parents that if the world had no money, there would be no environmental problems (forgetting about all of the other consequences for a moment). This level of economic growth cannot go much farther. When people are able and willing to shell out 25,000.00 for a watch, we have gone too far! Come on people, we need to wake up and realize that this type of growth has become unhealthy. My Dad commutes 3 hours a day to work at a job in central NJ for half of what my Mom makes here at Pace. We (as a population) are killing ourselves, and reducing our standards of living…for what, a house in Westchester and a cruddy Hyundai? How much longer can the ever decreasing middle class struggle to keep up with high society affluence? How much longer can the lower class survive at all?

larry said...

I agree with Leah. It's rediculous. People will spend a dollar or more a day on the lottery, a GAME, in hopes that no matter how rough life has been up to that point, winning will solve everything. But it's not even that rough at all. Maybe compared to your neighbor who has a larger TV you might think, wow I wish I could be as lucky as him. But these same people would never consider giving one dollar a day to help a kid in a third world country, which would increase his income to...one dollar a day. I always think about the color green, the NATURAL color: the color of trees and plants. How come money is green? It's easily the most unnatural thing there is. To survive, literally, we depend on that natural green of the trees and the plants. But survival in our made-up world depends on the unnatural green. A VITAL surgical operation that will allow you to SUSTAIN LIFE!!! depends solely on your possession of this unnatural green. No wonder affluenza infects everyone. The Native Americans had the right idea but we pushed them right out because that's how we handle things. It's real wrong.

Valerie said...

Everyone wants a nice car, and house. the last thing on someone's mind is them have anything to do with hurting the environment. They are shocked when they find out that they had something to do with the degredation of the environment. Nobody will do anything unless they see a real example of something that already happned from the environment being degraded. We have to start worrying about how we could be hurting the environment rather than getting that new car to outdue your nieghbors.

MWEST said...

Unfortunately we have created a world that looks at material possessions as the keys to happiness. Everyone that is above that poverty line of trying to survive is always looking to have more. It is the American dream to have a bigger and better life. However, such attitudes are most definitely not eco-friendly. As the population of the world increases exponentially, more and more waste and pollution are created. However, more people aren’t the only problem. It is how these people live that is just as big of a problem. Affluence makes people ignore eco-friendly ideas such as reusing and recycle. Why do that when you can afford to have something brand new all the time? Also, huge, luxurious lifestyles use up many resources. These are multitudes of resources that could be distributed to those in need. Individuals’ ecological footprints are so big that the environment cannot keep up. So I think it is extremely important to look more at how than how many. How do we live? It is solving that problem that will put us in the right direction. But where do we even begin?

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