Monday 24 November 2008

We must learn to live more abundantly with less!

Two readers have been kind enough to forward me great links, on the problems of consumerism, which I want to share with the rest of you.

The first, sent by my good friend Les Bertram, is this excellent 'Thought for the Day' by Alastair McIntosh, given on Radio Scotland on 22 October. You can listen to it here. He is a Quaker, Professor of Human Ecology at the University of Strathclyde, and there is a lot of interesting stuff on his website. I am looking forward to reading his latest book "Hell and High Water: Climate Change, Hope and the Human Condition", which I've ordered from Amazon.
Good Morning

This month has been a critical one in the history of our nation, one that historians will look back on as a cultural watershed.

Our faith in money has been shaken and earlier this week Gordon Brown promised a “central mission” of doing “whatever it takes” to spend a way out of the economic black hole.

At the same time and almost lost amongst the economic headlines, the UK Government took a courageous step towards tackling dangerous climate change. It now matches Scotland’s aspiration by having raised from 60 percent to 80 percent the target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050.

But setting targets is the easy bit; achieving them is harder. And there’s the rub. Both the economic bubble now bursting and global warming have one driver in common: consumerism. Our conundrum is that we need more consumption to save the economy, but less to save the planet.

Spending our way out of a recession is therefore only a stop-gap measure. It’s methadone for our planetary heroin addiction.

We simply feed the habit if we think that today’s problems can be tackled at conventional political, technical or economic levels. If we’re redefining our “central mission”, we must press further.

Technical fixes are certainly part of the solution. But I’d put it to you that the deep work must be this: to learn to live more abundantly with less, to rekindle community, and to serve fundamental human need instead of worshiping at the altars of greed.

The crisis of these times is therefore spiritual. It calls for reconnecting our inner lives with the outer world - an expansion of consciousness. And that’s an opportunity that we neglect at our peril, for as I once heard an old Quaker woman say, “It is perilous, to neglect one’s spiritual life.”

The second, sent to me by my daughter Amy, is a link to a fine US website

Do take a few minutes to watch the video you will find there, about 20 min long, in which Annie Leonard explains simply and clearly the problems with our civilisation's unsustainable over consumption.

The message of both, in Alistair McIntosh's words, is that we must learn to live more abundantly with less!

2 comments:

les said...

Great Video Joc. Something complicated told in just 20 minutes. I can think of other subjects that could be treat this way.

Amy said...

Hurrah! Great minds think alike! I'm not gonna think about those who seldom differ!!!!!