The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It


I would like to say that I am indebted to one of my readers, grandfathersky for mentioning the video which I have posted below.  If you enjoy wonderful poetry you should visit his blog

The video is one of the most excellent and understandable explanations of how all the things we buy come into being, serve their purpose and are then discarded.  I know that many of my readers are concerned about the way we treat each other and the way we treat our planet.  If so, you will most certainly enjoy this presentation.

Please let me know what you think of it.

Comments on: "THE STORY OF STUFF" (6)

  1. It’s amazing who and what really pays for all our stuff… We have to change our consuming, or we will be consumed!

    • Thank you for introducing me to this well-put-together video. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

      As a kid I remember watching my dad shave. He marvelled at this new “safety razor” that had been invented. I also remember him nursing as much mileage out of each blade as he could in the interest of economy. And when the blade finally dulled he would take a small amount of tissue to wrap around it and safely dispose of it in the garbage. Virtually no waste. And now we have disposable razors that result in twenty times the amount of material headed for the landfill and are used once and then discarded.

      And I remember a lovely Norweigan man named Lars who owned the local TV repair shop. He had made a living at this for twenty years. One day I ran into him on the street and he told me that he had closed his shop. We had seriously entered the replace rather than repair mindset. Can there be a clearer example of that than the cell phone industry?

      You are right – we are being consumed.

  2. I cannot tell you how important it is that you posted this. I thought I had a good idea about the impact we are having throughout the world, nee, the entire planet. But I learned more horrifying details from this video. For example, I didn’t know the astounding statistics around how much of our taxes go to the military (HALF!), or that of the largest 100 economies on earth now, the corporation is bigger than the gvt. (51/49 – how scary is that?!), which makes it OFFICIAL now that the gvt. is ABSOLUTELY bending to the mandates of corporations rather than We the PEOPLE. Did you get that? WE THE PEOPLE ARE NO LONGER THE PRIORITY OF OUR GOVERNMENT. How many ways does/will this affect us?? And do we care? Because if we do, I’m not seeing it. Please, help me out here, what am I missing?

    If this wasn’t jaw-dropping enough, we are only 5% of the world’s population, but we are using 30% of the WORLD’s resources. I mean, how is that even possible?? How is the rest of the world allowing us to do this, and how/why are we doing it, and how is this not headlines in every foreign news outlet every day until this gross inequity is rectified??? (Because, obviously, our news does not report on our greed).

    You know, I have heard this before in various countries – about our use & abuse of the majority of the world’s resources. But I am guilty of not believing it when it was told to me because, idk, it just seemed too unbelievable. The contempt & hatred toward America that I’ve seen expressed by many foreigners about this very issue came roaring back to me while watching this video. I didn’t really get it at the times I was hearing it from them, but it eventually began to dawn on me that if every country I go to, I hear this same contempt around this same issue, maybe there’s something to it…

    Thank you for sharing this video, J. It’s such a simple little b/w video but had such a profound impact on me.

    • I appreciate your comment, SB because it’s always good to hear from you and because it prompted me to view the video again so that I could respond.

      I guess the simple answer to your questions is that while we live in the 21st Century we have an 18th Century mindset. When America was founded we could truly look at the continent’s resources (and the world’s) as limitless – based on the populations at the time. But with 7 Billion people here now that has changed. We just refuse to recognize that fact because we have become accustomed to having whatever we want.

      Until we return to the “old values” of saving and conserving and re-using; until we each of us give up the mentality of wanting and feeling that we “need” to have the latest and greatest; until we understand that we live on a planet with finite resources; until we elect people to public office who share these commitments – we will continue this cycle – which as the video points out – is not something imposed as a law of nature but is man made.

      That will be our salvation, not simply in terms of how we regard ourselves and the planet which sustains us – but it might engender a greater respect and gentleness for the way we treat each other as well.

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