24 May, 2008

The story of stuff

The story of stuff is thought-provoking and the content is universally applicable - especially where Annie Leonard talks about consumption and the culture of spending. The clip is fast moving and put together well, but if you dont have 20 minutes, i would highly recommend the chapter on consumption.

It would be interesting to see what the Ecological Footprint data findings are for UAE. According to a Gulf News story published a couple of years ago, UAE has one of the largest ecological footprints – 9.9 hectares per person.

11 comments:

alexander said...

You won't necessarily enjoy this...

http://www.breathingearth.net/

hemlock said...

alex: :(
see that yellow star constantly flashing across the screen?
i see no logic behind having children, when hundreds and thousands are starving to death not a stone's throw away...
we've turned this world into an ugly mess.

Kyle said...

Hemlock:

That chart depicts not only children but grown-ups that die owing to many circumstances.

With respect to children, I’d apply a logic that even if you have a child(ren), it shouldn’t deter you to lend whatever support you can to those that can’t support themselves. One way forward is to support an organization that cares for a children. Of course, common people like you and I can’t support them all but at least it'd make a difference in one or two lives.

I’m exercising self-restraint on footprints, emissions, warming, melting etc simply because we’re all doomed to go down in a hand basket unless we individually clean-up our acts.

hemlock said...

kyle: we’re all doomed to go down in a hand basket unless we individually clean-up our acts.

i completely agree with you. the other day i saw someone chuck out a tissue paper in the middle of the street from their car...and it was such a sad sight... like "you @#$%^&&! why cant you keep it IN the car, and then take it out as you leave?" i wonder if they wouldve done the same thing outside their house.

that said, i sincerely believe people need to consider not having children. the primary purpose of man is NOT to reproduce like rabbits.
there isnt enough to go around as it is, and brith rates exceed death rates by miles... the someone skwed balance is only being kept by natural disasters and wars. so hurrah for genocide.

do you have children? i dont.
but hypothetically speaking, if you have just enough to buy your child an inflatable swimming pool, vs polio vaccine for some random kid in Angola, which would you go for?

all kids should be equal, but my kids, for me at least, would be more equal...

the real nick said...

hemlock,
i see no logic behind having children, when hundreds and thousands are starving to death not a stone's throw away...

Huh? That is and has always been the purpose (though not the only point) of having children, don't you think? Replacing those who die to provide for their elders.
The circle of life?

You are being hysterical if you think not having children will save the world. Hysterical, and selfish. I have heard that argument before from people who just try to exculpate themselves for their hedonistic and egoistic lifestyle.

The only real difference to the environment and the world's survival would be if China, India and the USA got in on the act, and if Africa ceased to exist and cows ceased to fart.

Everything else is cosmetics.

Kyle said...

Hemlock:

that said, i sincerely believe people need to consider not having children. the primary purpose of man is NOT to reproduce like rabbits.

That’s really cold. On the issue of reproduce like rabbits, there was a time when this was true but education and exposure has trimmed down reproduction levels, except in some zones of this world where increased reproduction signifies priapic vitality to society; neighborhood & at large.

do you have children? i dont.

Six in all; two our own and four sponsored – you know the Christian thing. As for preferences that you address, I don’t see it that way. Our decision to sponsor four kids was not to belt out preferences but to lend whatever support in terms of education, better living conditions and a hope for the future.

Will or do our actions make a difference in their lives, I certainly hope so based on quarterly progress reports we receive in our snail mailbox.

hemlock said...

nick: I have heard that argument before from people who just try to exculpate themselves for their hedonistic and egoistic lifestyle.
for the sake of argument, what's wrong with having a hedonistic and egoistic lifestyle as long as it ensures you are not putting your children into slavery/child labour?
anyone's decision on the number of children they have should be based on the quality of life they can provide for the kids.
remember, i come from a country where the poor strata believe in large families - the more children they have, the more workforce there is to contribute to the household income. these children are then placed as servants in affluent homes, into workshops, garment factories... you name it... earning negligible salaries. a number are forced into begging.
they are denied education, and as a result the opportunity to ever break out of the vicious cycle.
but i guess you have to see the desperation in a 7-yr old's eyes to know where im coming from.
out of curiousity, have you ever heard a cow fart?

kyle: you reinforce my crumbling faith in people. :)
children are the most vulnerable segment of our society - any society - who need security, protection, love, a nurturing environment, and assurance of fundamental human rights like education.
i would rather there were no children, as opposed to them being exposed to neglect and abuse.

the real nick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
the real nick said...

Jeeeeez! Hemlock,for the sake of your argument, you say that there is nothing wrong with having a hedonistic and egoistic lifestyle as long as it ensures you are not putting your children into slavery/child labour?

I sincerely pity you if this is the only choice you can see yourself make if you ever had children: to enslave them?! What about having children - as opposed to a life of self-gratification - and love, nurture and educate them to ensure a sustainable future for us all? Does it have to be slavery, or nothing?

i would rather there were no children, as opposed to them being exposed to neglect and abuse.

You know the adage "cutting your nose off to spite your face"?

Maybe your country is poor and many children there suffer abuse and neglect, but that doesn't mean you have to do the same to yours and deprive your potential children, and yourself, of a life of love, enrichment, learning and mutual enjoyment.

And as an aside and for the umpteenth time in this forum, can we please agree on that for poor children stitching footballs IS indeed a job to help support a family, and a better job than having NO job at all and just being a street urchin.

hemlock said...

nick, i think we are almost, but not quite, saying the same thing.

can we please agree on that for poor children stitching footballs IS indeed a job to help support a family, and a better job than having NO job at all and just being a street urchin

[being exploited out of decent wages and education is better than being on the street? :) - if that's what floats your boat]
Have them stitch footballs if it keeps them alive, provided they are simultaneously given an education. the inability to read or write is the biggest impediment to 'being' in this day and age.

nick, my argument against having more children, or having any of my own, is simply that there are so many out there who need our help... why can i just not adopt to "love, nurture and educate ... to ensure a sustainable future" for them.

why does my birthchild deserve anymore than my maid's child? or a child whose parents were wiped out in war or famine? children are children are children, and every child deserves the opportunity to laugh, have a carefree childhood, and the resources to grow and develop themselves. this shouldnt be dependent on the continent or the house they are born in.

to be very honest, the "life of love, enrichment, learning and mutual enjoyment" led with adopted children would be as fulfilling - unless that fulfillment is only guaranteed where DNA matches - is it?

as i said earlier:
anyone's decision on the number of children they have should be based on the quality of life they can provide for the kids.
maybe it's my personal dilemma, but everytime ill spend every penny possible to provide the best for my own kids ... i will think about how the same money couldve bought someone else's child the basic resources to live - food, clean water, and shelter.

oh, with all that pity to go around, i wish you'd spare some pity for them.
meanwhile, my hedonistic lifestyle was put on hold to give you this reply.

the real nick said...

hemlock,

Very well then, put your money where your mouth is and foster / support a particular poor child through direct programs, like Kyle is doing, or my parents have done for the two orphans whom they put through college (via "SOS childrens village"). Or like the saintly stewardess Maria Conceicao of the 'Dhaka project'.

Don't just sit there and write about it.

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