The age of convenience and how it’s destroying the planet
We’re continually creating more comfortable and convenient environments in society that disconnect us further from nature. Therefore relying more than ever on corporation thriving systems in which survival depends on the struggle to collate sufficient ‘tickets’ in order to rent/buy pre-built housing and purchase packaged food from the environment we were freely born into.
How many people would survive if they had to fend for themselves? In the society that we are raised in today, we are taught no core life skills by necessity. We are instead taught how to work and buy the life in which we want. Sourcing food and constructing shelter are taken care of by others rendering us near useless when it comes to looking after ourselves independently. Food of all forms now comes from a supermarket on an endless conveyor belt, packaged neatly with not enough questioning from us into where or how it came to be, we are separated from the reality of the process. Clean filtered water flows into households and not only comes out of your drinking tap, but also flows into your toilet where it is wasted nonsensically.
We’re creating a consumerist machine fed by humans detached from nature entirely. Is this the necessary step for human development or have we taken a wrong step somewhere?
Yvon Chouinard covers the point well in 180 South:
THE INFINITE FOOD SUPPLY
What is actually in the food that you are eating? Where was it produced and how did it get from it’s source to the supermarket? I like most people never truly asked myself these questions. We just walk through the shiny sliding doors of the nearest supermarket and collate all the items we want without hesitation.
Rarely do we consider the products source or contents, the consumer is disconnected from the creator
Small independent butchers and vegetable shops are a dying breed with rising costs for the organic produce in which they supply. We have allowed our health and well-being to be placed into the hands of these corporations in a dangerous way, then we are shocked when we find out our they are using horse meat as a beef substitute. We search for the easiest and most convenient method for everything, it’s in our nature, we don’t have to hunt or survive anymore. Within the current system it allows us to blindly consume with no consequences for our actions. For example, many processed foods that we in the west like to indulge, contain Palm Oil. Creation of this has led to mass deforestation in Borneo due to mono-culture, resulting in heavy damage to the eco-system as a consequence. This sort of ignorance in our decisions when purchasing is what keeps the system looping, making change harder, but simultaneously shows us that education is key. People are unable to consider factors in which they are not aware of, when we are made aware of information, it enters our frame of reference and allows us to make a conscious decision.
There is a strong awareness building for eating ‘organic’ produce in today’s society. This is an absurd labeling system showing clearly that we are acceptant of the fact we are eating ‘non-organic’ produce as standard. Real satisfaction can be found in watching something grow and taking such an essential part of the human experience into your own hands. I understand that we do not all have room to grow our own food in the modern day houses in which most of us live, but like all things you can start small. Try growing some herbs or small fruit and veg that do not require much maintenance. There is a real growth in community based gardening and food growing projects all over the UK. In Todmorden the community has come together to maintain free-of-charge, free-to-eat garden beds for all to enjoy tackling the no-space argument as well as bringing together members of the public. There is a real benefit in growing your own food and the nutritional benefits will reward you for it.
We live in a biosphere, not a ‘buyosphere’ —Why Project
BUY NOW. PAY LATER.
Purchasing goods online is easier than ever, walking into stores and buying items on finance also allows us to acquire goods without having the funds, we buy first and ask questions later. How much excess baggage do you have with you right now? How much unnecessary weight are you carrying in your life? One thing I have learnt since I have been travelling and living out of a backpack is how much we really need. It helps you to focus on trying to acquire quality well-built items, rather than cheap mass produced equivalents that you dispose of frivolously ending up in landfill. We buy with a short term, narrow mindset and similar to food, we rarely consider the process of how products come to be. How do you think the clothes we all wear from popular high street stores are created? In this article from the New Statesman – “Fashion” is just an excuse for the rich to exploit the poor, it states that in Cambodia, where garment manufacturing is now a rising industry:
Cambodian garment workers are paid $61 a month and are gunned down and imprisoned for striking to gain an increase.
Buy now, pay later sums up societies attitude towards consumerism entirely. There is no action without reaction, so everything you do will have an effect, even if you can’t see it directly. Be conscious of where you spend your money, what effects will it have? Where are the products made? The lure of cheap price tags sadly can make us oversee such incidents as the Bangladesh factory collapse where Primark clothes are made, opting not to change or boycott but instead, to continue buying as the article states:
Just 10% of consumers are committed to shopping ethically. Around one-third of consumers are utterly disengaged from the very notion of ethical shopping.
Remaining ignorant to this will further our passive destructive nature and keep us on this one way road.
24 HOUR DELIVERY
There is a sense of entitlement in today’s society, especially in our current generation, where everything can be purchased or attained in 24 hours. Look at the TV shows in which are aired, from talent competitions to ‘celebrity’ reality shows, all showcasing that you could be the next superstar or millionaire overnight. These promised shortcuts to fame and fortune are being promoted everywhere around us placing hollow stars in the eyes of our youth.
We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off. —Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
Advertisements flood our vision at every turn promoting the ‘ideal’ self image making us feel in-adequate, whilst providing us with the solution for that ‘quick-fix’. I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to live in a remote part of Thailand for 2 months where there was no TV and certainly no advertisements. It makes you realise how superfluous it all is when you can take a step outside and see it for what it is… transparent. We seek money over passion as money gives us access to everything we want and more, so it has become our main focus. It doesn’t allow us to spend time doing the things we like, exploring and working collaboratively to move forward. We are willing to step over each other or fight to get ahead of the person next to us, instead of lending them a hand. We need to step away from this ‘me’ culture.
THE PARADOX OF OUR AGE
To summarize here are some wise words from Dalai Lama who talks about these issues in The Paradox of our Age.
SO, WE CAN WE DO?
We have to start taking responsibility for our actions and make conscious decisions. Educate yourself and question the way you live, I believe it is vital to moving forward personally and collectively. Even by making small changes in your day to day life, it will have an impact. Cut down on buying foods you know are from bad sources, cheap clothes you know are made in an unethical working conditions. Try to seek out the independents, the people trying to provide quality over quantity and spend wisely, your money will go further in the long run. Spend a healthy amount of your spare time chasing your passion, exploring creative outputs and going to the gym for example, switch off the TV. In essence it is about becoming the best possible version of yourself through education and awareness and having fun in the process.
[title subtitle=”Let us know your views in comments below”]Do we live in an age of convenience?[/title]
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