We Americans as of late are not very self-sufficient. It has not always been that way, but it seems over the years we have developed some pretty bad habits and we don’t particularly look like we are concerned about changing them in the least. And that should bother you.
Our action on demand hurry up fast food plastic drive up get it and throw it away when we are done with it mentality has us living in fast lane. Add to that the monkeys on our backs we just don’t seem to be able to shake off such as; oil for one, borrowing money for a war we can’t afford another and cheap plastic goods painted with lead derivatives for another. Some actually see progress in the fact that we are shopping further and further away from our homes for even the simplest of things. On my desk right now is a pair of scissors made in China. A box of CD’s created in Germany. A computer screen fabricated in Taiwan, assembled in California, and shipped to me by a company based in Phoenix! It’s a big world out there and the Wall Street way of thinking is that by using all of it; the whole world benefits; well not everyone!
I guess that is why I cringed when I came upon an article a few Sundays ago, about dumpster divers! Apparently these kids in Israel support themselves and their families by picking through the dumpsters in a nearby landfill. I’ve read about similar means of survival in China, Mexico City and Peru. When you take that refrigerator to the landfill or trade the used car in that has a 100,000 miles on it, where do you think it goes? If you said to a third world country, you were right. Getting our hand me downs for these countries is nothing new and digging through the garbage for scrap metal and life’s necessities doesn’t seem to be either!
So this week as I watch Ken Burns, tell the story of World War Two, I have to ask myself what happened to us? Everyone re-cycled in the 40’s. Everyone and I mean the kids too; saw waste as a threat to national security. The fact that many regularly saved bacon grease for the war effort, says a lot! It was used to make glycerin, an important additive in making explosives, by the way. Many of us don’t look at recycling as anything much more than a nuisance. Cutting back on our fuel consumption is not even a concern until gas prices hit three dollars or so a gallon. We are borrowing billions to fund the war, and it so unimportant not one single major news paper has reported on it in the last year!
It’s just a matter of time till the bankers of the world raise our interest rates. Just recently they devalued our dollar to the lowest point it has ever been on world markets and that is just the start of the changes to come. In the forties, recycling and cutting down on consumption was linked to security and quite frankly it is time it was again.