Every Day Is Earth Day

Published online: May 01, 2022 Articles Gregg Losinski
Viewed 64 time(s)

They say that money makes the world go round. While this may not be entirely true, there is no doubt that life is certainly easier with extra cash than without. Given that the world is nearly past the point where a person can fend for themselves, we are definitely all in this together. 

How we choose to live and what we choose to consume realistically has global implications.

Once upon a time in America, a person could be totally self-sufficient if they wanted to be.  While that might still be possible, taking care of daily needs will eat up all your time and not leave a whole lot of time for anything else. I have been fortunate enough to spend time in some fairly remote parts of China. While the scenery is breathtaking, I can tell you the people living there do not have a lot of time to enjoy it. Except for a cell phone and a light bulb or two in their homes, they are living and working as hard to survive as their great, great grandparents did.  

We here in America take the acquisition of goods and services for granted. Forget about popping down to the corner market for groceries. A few clicks on our smartphones and just about anything we could want to eat will be delivered to our doorsteps in just a few hours. If we have the patience to wait a few days, Amazon Prime will deliver just about any item we can imagine to our home. “Free Shipping,” no less! But is it really free? Of course not everything has a cost.  

The question is who is paying the cost?

As consumers in America, we have the capital and resources that were once reserved for royalty! Even the poorest among us have access to technology via their smartphone that only a few decades ago was reserved for sending men to the moon. The amount of food that we discard daily from our homes, stores, and restaurants could easily feed all the hungry of the world if they could access it. Think of all the energy and resources used to grow and transport food that just ends up being tossed.

There will always be bigger and better stuff for us to consume. Some of it we will truly need, but most of it will be just cool junk we want. 

Our challenge is to figure out a way to make sure that we do not waste our finite resources on things that we do not really need. Marketing and designed obsolescence have led us astray. We also need to make sure that the methods we use to create our food and technology are sustainable. Going green sounds nice, but what are its actual costs? 

Through science, we have accomplished some incredible things, but we need to weigh the costs of our achievements. Everything has a cost.

Some costs are easy to calculate, while others can take years to be fully realized. We certainly need to be aware of the up-front short-term costs, but at the same time be watching for those long-term unanticipated costs. Not all costs are monetary — some are moral, some are environmental. Calculating them can almost be impossible. The world we live in is truly interconnected and the relationships are complex and often easier to ignore than acknowledge. 

We need to understand that even though our smartphones seem expensive, the full cost for them is really much greater and is being paid for by people, habitats and wildlife elsewhere in the world.

It is important to remember that the planet we live on is a closed system. We need to make sure that we really understand the true environmental and human cost of what we do and try to make sure that we do our best to protect the limited resources we have. The Earth is an incredible self-regulating mechanism, but as its most mischievous inhabitants, we would probably be smart to not make any more of a mess than we really need to. 

In the end, we all will pay the cost. 


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