January 27th, 2011
Over consumption of natural resources has been a major theme in our class discussions for the past few days. Looking at the collapse of various societies and their mistakes always causes me to think of present day problems. A lot of reactions to those failed societies run along the lines of ‘how could they be so stupid?’ or ‘why would anyone cut down the last tree if they knew full well it was the last?’. But our society certainly isn’t showing many signs of greater intelligence and foresight in regard to our own problems. We go about our daily lives, completely absorbed by only the immediate environment. I bet no one would think twice about drilling the very last barrel of oil, even if they knew it was the last. It’s just business as usual.
Being wasteful is popular because it’s just so easy when consequences are delayed. Our culture is a fan of shortcuts and quick fixes. For example, due to prolonged cold temperatures the pipes in my house froze. Luckily, they thawed out without bursting. But now the only remedy our repairman has given us is to keep the taps drizzling all night long. This results in a massive waste of water. We are still waiting for our landlord to decide if he wants to make a more permanent fix (by ripping up the floors and insulating the pipes correctly). But of course that’s a lot of work and money, it’s not as easy as just letting the taps run. Our household is pretty eco-conscious and all of us are uncomfortable with wasting water like this. It’s a frustrating situation that was really incredibly preventable, considering the house was redone recently and the plumbing could have been updated easily. Often I think there should be stricter penalties for being wasteful. Also, we should try to promote a more farsighted type of outlook in our general culture. Instant gratification is a dangerous lifestyle.