How does a “disposable” mentality affect global sustainability? Is ‘more’ better?
“An honourable man was rich in friends, acts of courage and generosity; not rich in possessions. In fact, accumulating too much when others had less, showed a flaw in the character of that person.” Aline LaFlamme, Metis Elder
Part of the journey to a sustainable world view is to examine many of our society’s assumptions that are not sustainable such as “more is better,” especially when it comes to using disposables, buying things we don’t need and throwing things away. Where is “away”? We are overflowing our landfills, oceans and atmosphere with more harmful pollutants than is globally sustainable. Most North American households produce 740 kg of solid waste a year, and each kg of waste creates double that amount of harmful greenhouse gases like methane.
We can disengage from a “disposable culture” mentality and get off the frantic wheel of working more to buy more in the illusive pursuit of happiness. More stuff does not bring us greater meaning and long-lasting happiness. It is time to reclaim our identity as citizens instead of consumers and focus on what’s important so we can make educated decisions to support global sustainability.