Have you ever wondered why do they call us the Consumer Nation? And what to do with it? Read this great story by Chaim Ratz and see why that is.
Stuff. It fills our closets, our garages, and our lives. We gauge success in life by the stuff we own, and spend incredible amounts of time shopping for it. A new documentary, The Story of Stuff, shows how our entire lives have been taken over by “stuff.” And the wisdom of Kabbalah shows what we can do about it!
Annie Leonard, an expert in international sustainability and environmental health issues, spent ten years tracking “stuff” from its beginning as raw materials until it ends up in the trash. Her documentary, The Story of Stuff, is as entertaining as it is educational, and has been viewed by over two million people.
Annie states the problem quite simply: “We have become a nation of consumers. Our primary identity has become that of being consumers. Not mothers, teachers, farmers, "but consumers.” But her deeper concern is that U.S. consumption-mania destroys our balance with nature and ruins people’s lives. And all this happens away from the public eye. Here are just a few of the facts she uncovered:
- In the past three decades alone, one third of the planet’s natural resources have been consumed.
- 75% of global fisheries are now fished at or beyond capacity. 85% of the planet’s original forests are gone.
- The U.S. has only 5% of the world’s population, but uses 30% of the world’s resources and creates 30% of the world’s waste. If everyone consumed at U.S. rates, we would need 3-5 planets.
- U.S. industry releases over four billion pounds of toxic chemicals a year. Over 100,000 synthetic chemicals are in use in commerce today.
- Toxic chemicals found in the products we use concentrate in our bodies. In fact, human breast milk tops the food chain as having the highest level of toxic contaminants.
- Each person in the U.S. makes 4.5 pounds of garbage a day, twice what we made 30 years ago.
- Even if we could recycle 100% of the waste, it wouldn’t make a dent in the problem; for every can of garbage we put out on the curb, the equivalent of 70 cans were manufactured to make that one can of garbage.
But there’s more to the story. Annie reveals that “It didn’t just happen, "it was designed.”