Friday, April 22, 2011

Individual sacrifices to save the environment (lent+earth day reflection)

Happy Earth day everyone!

The celebration of Earth day for the first time coincides with the celebration of Holy Friday (Christian Holiday). I guess this is a good time for us to reflect on how we could possibly affect changes on helping solve Global Warming.

We have to understand that every one of us has a role to play to create a significant effect on decreasing carbon emission. May we all find in our conscience this day, the “will” to transform ourselves on caring more for the environment.


Why is our individual effort important?
I honestly believe that no matter how many policies we make or international agreement on reducing carbon emission, it will always be futile without public participation/support.

That is why if we need to make that change, then the change has to happen more on the Consumer side rather than in the Production side (but it does not mean that Companies should not make any effort to change their production to go green).

We have to understand that companies basically respond on the Demand present in the market. That is a basic economic principle. Of course no company is willing to supply something that will not be bought by consumers. There is basically no problem with this on the initial stage. The problem lies on when we tend to consume too much leading to Aggressive Consumerists or Excessive Materialist Consumers.

Let us try to put this in a simple picture. An average person living on a progressive economy will usually inhibit the characteristic mentioned above. This person already has Macbook, Ipod, Ipad, Iphone, Car (which practically is okay). Yet we still want something else. We want something new. So despite the fact that they have these things, that person will still buy the latest car model, the latest Apple products, etc. (this logic is not limited on this pattern of consuming goods).

Why is this so problematic?
Because of the ever increasing demand the only option left for Profiteering companies is to expand. And we have to understand that when companies expand, it creates a dreadful environmental trade-off.

More forest, more farmlands, more shorelines will be converted to industrial/commercial zones to cater to our excessive demands. It also means that more waste materials shall be left which most of consumers doesn’t really care about. So it means that we extract more on the environment, we take something away from the environment which took so long to grow. And friends, one of which is what we call - trees which primarily offset our carbon emission.

So what happens usually is that those products which they formerly own will be considered as “additional waste”. We throw them away because we no longer find them useful since there are more “kick-ass” technology out in the market. This is a cycle that Consumers are not usually aware of. This is a vicious cycle that continuously degrades the environment.


This is why I urge people to get involve by being more conscious on their consuming patterns.

This is a problem that concerns everyone.

This is a problem with dire consequences.

This is a problem that needs strict measures.

This is a problem that must require everyone to act.

Caring for the environment does not mean that we should live a primal life and leave all technological advances we have made. What I am saying is, what is the harm on having a simple sacrifice on not buying the latest gadget if what we have can suffice our needs already?

For some, this may sound like demanding too much. But come on! We brought this problem to ourselves. And we have to be more willing to sacrifice a lot to solve this.

Cheers and have a Happy and Holy week.

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