p.s. in response to Huklob's question as to the solution to consumption I give my inadequate and humble response recognizing that I have to work on all of these points.
- Have children. We need to consume to survive, but people also need employment. We were meant to work. Having children keeps a country having to take care of basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing, and education and thus jobs, yet not jobs creating luxury items.
- Make hard choices such as buying something that is more expensive or incontinent because it is better for the environment. (Though not buying at all should also be an option.)
- Decipher between needs v. wants. I know we hear this all the time; however this is more difficult than it seems. In our culture we just expect so much. Going to a third world and learning to live simply for a time and then returning may seem to help, but from what I've seen it doesn't really make an impact because as soon as we're back we slip into our old ways. We rationalize saying that it is a necessity here in the U.S. even if it is not because to fit in socially it is required. We don't realize, however, that when we do this it just makes it harder for anyone else who can't or doesn't want to consume that way to fit it.
- Also, as members of the church we are encouraged to have families, and depending on each family's revelation perhaps large ones. As such, we have even more of a responsibility to be and teach or families to be smart and to treat the earth kindly.
- Thoreau said that the wisest men live more simply than the poor. I had all sorts of expectations when I went to Brazil of seeing people in poverty living simply. Quite frankly, even some of the poorest families I knew would still spend money at a computer cafe chatting with friends. We should not hold others as our guide.
- Consume only enough to be happy and realize that beyond a certain point, consuming more only makes us more unhappy, not happier.
- My last, is that we should avoid advertising as much as possible. Even when I was stuck at the doctor's office with nothing to read, I still refused to read their baby magazines full of advertisements trying to get at my pre-mother heartstrings. Perhaps more importantly protect children. Advertising may not be of the devil, but advertising to children is to me.
Okay, this is my last. Hang around friends that are okay just hanging out and not requiring expensive activities every time you spend time together. If you have to spend money to be friends, you probably aren't that good of friends anyway. It seems that most people are tempted to spend money, not on themselves, but on others. Generosity is a fine thing, but should be prompted by the spirit, not by social norms encouraged by marketers in order to get a profit.