If you're reading this blog, odds are you've heard about the APLS group - Affluent Persons Living Sustainably. It's a group of environmentally-conscious folks who are doing their best not to trash the planet with disposable plastic, gas-guzzling vehicles and feverish over-consumption.
Well, when the idea of 'APLS' was first introduced, many people balked at the "A" word - Affluent. "Hey! I'm not a Hollywood Starlet! I'm not Bill Gates! I don't have money falling out my ass! How can you call me Affluent?!?!"
Look it up, dude. You are.
We ALL are. We have food in our bellies, medicine for ailments and pillows for our heads. By global standards, we are literally kings among commoners.
Unfortunately, however, we are still obsessed with getting richer. Buying more. Consuming more. Owning more. Why is this? Study after study has shown that more money, more consumption (beyond the basics, of course) does not make us happier. So why do we work like crazy towards even greater affluence?
Wealth should, in theory, provide us with more free time. I mean, we no longer HAVE to grow our own food, build our own shelters, hunt or fish, or simply work to survive. And yet - because of our consumeristic ways - we have less free time than we did 50 years ago. We are working longer, to earn more, so we can buy more. We have to spend more time shopping. More time caring for our possessions. More time sorting through our crap every year to hold a garage sale, so we can make room for new crap. It's a vicious cycle.
So what would happen, instead, if we took all this affluence and instead of pissing it away on shit we don't need we used it to influence environmental change? To influence our leaders to legislate green house gas emissions limits? To influence companies to design more environmentally friendly products? Or to simply spend our time and money giving to environmental causes and those in need.
How do we do this? Simple.
- Use our time wisely - instead of shopping, spend our time becoming informed citizens. Learn about pending legislation, write letters to our representatives, or take the big step and run for office.
- Spend our money wisely - buy environmentally responsible products, buy locally-grown / produced items, shop second-hand whenever possible or, better yet - not buying at all.
- Donate. Be it time, money or goods. Donating helps the environment while helping your fellow man. Skip the hassle of the garage sale folks, and just GIVE.
The choice is yours. Choose wisely.