After the sacrifices U.S. American’s were asked to make during WWII, the post war period brought about a new frenzy of consumerism. From the “madmen” of the 50’s and 60’s to the present, advertisers are constantly bombarding us with the message that the goods we buy are a measure of our success and happiness. So we fill our closets, garages and storage spaces with more and more stuff. This is something we need to think about as we consider ways of reducing our carbon footprints. The increasing emissions from countries such as China are concerning, but we must also realize that we are partially responsible for that increase as we buy more and more goods produced there, as outlined in this report.
Most of us know that money can’t buy us happiness, but we still want the coolest and latest gadgets and toys. Do we have to give all of that up? We can certainly do well with less, but I don’t think we need to give all of it up. We can find new ways to produce goods more sustainably. But while we are figuring that out, and learning how to live comfortably with less, we are in an interesting situation. Tons of the stuff is already here. Your neighbor already owns that new tool you will only use once a year anyway. People are delivering loads of their unused stuff to thrift stores on a daily basis, they are posting it on Craigslist and other online sites, they are selling it on their front lawns every weekend this summer. So stop buying all the stuff being shipped here, buy it used, borrow it or re-purpose something old. Our economy can’t be based on using more and more resources, so let’s start consuming less stuff, which will consume less energy.