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Stepping Out of the Consumer Culture

Stepping Out of the Consumer Culture

Why do we need to step out of the consumer culture when our whole system is designed for and sustained by consumerism. How do we change that?

This is indeed a daunting task and a tall order. We’ve all been raised on the “mother’s milk” of buying stuff to satisfy our every need—physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. If we are to change our ways—personally and systemically—it helps to know why we need to do this.

Here’s our situation:
Every single good or service or form of transportation we humans use requires energy. World energy demand continues to rise, and development of renewables has not been fast enough to satisfy this increased demand.

The bottom line is that we’re using up our resources faster than the Earth can regenerate them.

The fact that has shocked me the most is the Overshoot Day: By July 29th, we used up all the regenerative resources of 2019. From July 30 we started to consume more resources than the planet can regenerate in a year. It's very serious. It's a global emergency. —Pope Frances, August 2019

So what do we do? For starters we need to imagine a different way of having comfortable and fulfilling lives, and to see real life examples of how people are creating alternative ways of living that do not compromise their own well-being or the health of the planet. Quite the opposite. These alternatives are contributing to restoring natural environments and building thriving local communities and citizens. View the excellent film "The Economics of Happiness. The abridged version is 20 minutes.

More food for your imagination: We invite you to a journey of departure from this consumer culture. We ask you to imagine an alternative set of economic beliefs that have the capacity to evoke a culture where poverty, violence, and shrinking well-being are not inevitable—a culture in which the social order produces enough for all. . . . This departure into another kingdom might be closer to the reality of our nature and what works best for our humanity. . . . Luckily, the exodus from a consumer, globalized culture into a neighborly, localized communal and cooperative culture has begun. We join the chorus of other agents of the alternative economy: food hubs, cooperative and social enterprises, the climate change activists, health activists, [etc.]. . . . (Adapted from Peter Block, Walter Brueggemann, John McKnight, An Other Kingdom: Departing the Consumer Culture.)

Want more good ideas? Here are links to excellent articles that speak to the path of building an economy based on the well-being of all people and Earth, rather than the maximization of profit for a wealthy few.

Fr. Richard Rohr (the Center for Action and Contemplation) featured Daily Meditations (11/24-30) on what he calls “The Economy: Old and New.” Some titles are as follows,
“The Gift of Sufficiency”
“Moral Capitalism”
“Departing the Consumer Culture”
“Making Do with More”
"The Economy Old and New," by Fr. Richard Rohr.
"A Vision of a New America," by Gus Speth.

—Walt Disney

Let's do it!


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