Written by Miyo Fukuzawa, ESLLC 2016-2017
We live in a world over-obsessed with “stuff” –Material possessions, many of which are useless and will be thrown away in the next year. We, especially in America, live a very wasteful lifestyle. Our trash cans become heaped within days. We consume and throw away repeatedly and mindlessly. We buy so many gadgets that end up getting lost in the back of the drawer except for the 1-2 times we use it each year. We have become a society that searches for happiness through material satisfaction.
Not only is this psychologically unhelpful, it can have dire consequences for the environment as well. With massive consumption inevitably comes massive waste. We require polluting factories and large amounts of energy and resources to manufacture all of our “stuff”. Then, we require transportation, packaging, and huge department stores. Next, we go to the store, buy more than we need, and we keep it until we’re tired of it, and we throw it out. Boom, our product has gone full cycle and now there’s more trash in the landfill.
What we need to learn to do is take only what we need. This applies not only to our material possessions, but also to things such as energy, water, food, resources. Our slogans in America seem to be “more, more, more!” and “the bigger the better!”. Instead of thinking like this, we need to redirect our attention to the things that really matter. Our friends, our family, our planet—these are the things that will truly bring us happiness, and a satisfaction much greater than material fulfillment. If we live life centered around these human principles, the Earth will no longer be a forgotten victim of our careless and throw-away culture.