When I was born in 1951 new homes averaged about 300 square feet per person. Compare this to about 900 square feet per person in 2003… a tripling in size in just 50 years. With this super-sizing comes the inherent fact that our homes generate more pollution and global warming gases than our cars! Our homes demand more energy consumption (12.2 barrels per person per year) than the food we eat (10 barrels per year) and the cars we drive (9 barrels per year).
No wonder we’re referred to as consumers, chewing up the natural world at such an alarming, unsustainable rate; a rate that is destroying the natural capital that provides the sustenance we rely upon for our basic needs.
Mainstream media tends to insulate us from this information, doesn’t it? Sure, we’ll be kept up to date with today’s stock market performance, elevating the health of our economy to center stage. Meanwhile, the health of our natural world seems hidden behind countless curtains. Back stage our natural world dies off while our houses expand.
If you’re paying attention — and your source of income doesn’t reply upon this addiction that ‘more is better’ — you know that it’s time to abandon our bloated role as consumers and behave as cooperative citizens who take no more from our natural world than it is capable of replacing.
But how can we do this while we’re bombarded by mainstream media? Advertising seduces you and me to be dissatisfied with ourselves — what you own; what you look like; how you smell; even how you sleep. So much is wrong with you so you’d better “… talk to your doctor about…”
For just a moment, allow me to play doctor. My advice: Learn to ‘no’ thyself.
Accept the fact that advertising exists to increase commerce… and that it works! Jim Morrison told us that “Whoever controls the media controls the mind.” Media effectively bombards us with enough material information that I’ll bet you can look around the room you’re in at the moment and pretty much know what you’d like to purchase as your next TV — or next easy chair or next whatever you look around and see.
For a moment, imagine a TV commercial suggesting that you should feel grateful about that which you already possess! What a refreshing idea, eh? “Ahh… sit back and relax into the recliner you’ve owned for years. Breathe deeply the cleaner air that results from not replacing your older chair. Don’t replace it! Savor that which you already own!”
Marketing will continue to work unless one learns how to ‘no’ thyself. But how?
As your doctor, I so wish I could prescribe a green pill for you to take once a day to reduce your degree of consumption. “Here, take this daily prescription of ‘Dowithlessocor’.”
Instead I ask you this: if you’re caught beneath a bombardment of any kind, what should you do?
Marketing is so damn effective that we need to create mind armor of sorts. Perhaps this means cancelling cable television and only watching movies. Perhaps this means turning your TV into a fish tank instead.
I don’t know what it means for you; that’s your job. You know thyself. Create your own mind armor and learn to ‘no’ thyself.
Please, take cover.
We can’t grow on like this.