Saturday, March 6, 2010

Day 17: 68% of Statistics are Not Real

Sometimes it's difficult to make changes and accommodations in our lives for results that may not directly impact us. When we talk about doing things for the future, it's so easy to just eff it because we're not going to be around in the future anyway. I have a pretty good feeling that my life span is going to be short. Have you seen my driving?

I'm a true Asian woman.

When I was in 5th grade, I remember we were asked to fundraise for a playground that was going to be built after we would no longer be students there. Why would I contribute my money, which couldn't have totaled over $5, for something I would never benefit from? No, I didn't have bad parents who didn't teach me anything about being nice. I was 10.

Thankfully, for all of our sakes, I have grown since then. It took a while but I have a feeling I'm a little different from when I was 10. Just a little, though.

I'm by no means developing into Mother Teresa or anything like that. I don't think I have the bone structure to really pull off a nun's habit.

I'd like to think I could be totally selfless and not conform to what mainstream society and media shoves in our faces every day. Like I mentioned before, I am a woman. I love shopping. Not as a social thing, I like to shop alone. I'm sometimes embarrassed about how much money I can really spend on clothes, jewelry, food and those $10 DVDs at Target.

This past year I have been more diligent about becoming more aware of how much I actually consume, not just what I eat, but all the things that I buy. I have to stop myself and ask if this is really something I need and will use for more than 3 months. Does the product have a ridiculous amount of packaging that'll just end up as more landfill? Is this a store / company / brand I want to support?

It's Saturday, so while you're folding laundry or taking a break from TBS movie marathons, watch this very informative video by Annie Leonard called The Story of Stuff.

I'm sure some of you didn't watch it. But here are some astonishing statistics about our level of consumption and waste production as Americans:
  • Americans consist of 5% of the world's population, but we consume 30% of the world's resources and create 30% of the world's waste
  • 99% of the products you buy now will not be used 6 months from now
  • Americans watch TV and shop 3-4 times more than Europeans
  • Americans produce 4.5 pounds of garbage each day
  • 70 garbage cans of waste is actually produced for every one garbage can you fill at your home
Kathy Freston also talks about how wasteful the animal product industry is: 
  • Animal agriculture causes almost 40% more greenhouse gas emissions than all the cars, trucks and planes in the world combined. 
  • 760 million tons of grain are fed to chicken, pigs and cattle each year while there are 850 million people in the world who are starving
  • The amount of feed it takes to create one 8-ounce steak could fill 40-50 bowls with cooked grains
If every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetables and grains, for example, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off the U.S. roads. - Environmental Defense Fund
I know this is all very depressing. Especially because it's a beautiful weekend and nothing sounds better than firing up the grill in your new pair of jeggings with a diet strawberry limeade from Sonic in your hands. 

But hark! There is hope.

Annie Leonard mentions this quote by Victor LeBeau:
Our enormously productive economy...demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction, in consumption.... We need things consumed, burned up, replaced and discarded at an ever-accelerating rate.
Yes, a more conscience way of living and consuming will help slow down the rate at which our planet is falling apart and hopefully will help raise up those oppressed by the manner in which we blindly perpetuate this vicious cycle. But the 10 year old Kathy is still asking how does this affect her.
There is just something that is so sad about the notion that our spiritual satisfaction and ego satisfaction is decided upon by the things we buy.

I am totally guilty of this. I love shopping because I love the way I feel in new clothes. Why can't I love myself in the good pair of designer jeans I bought a few years ago? 
Because they're not skinny jeans...


  1. I definitely folded 2 loads of laundry and watched Sister Act, Father of the Bride and Mean Girls, all on TBS today!

  2. Nice. Isn't that what Saturdays are for?