Saturday, February 27, 2010

Is Minimal Living An Act of Selfishness?

From George Bush to Barack Obama, from Tony Blair to Gordon Brown, from Jean Chretien to Stephen Harper, every leader has, in one way or another, urged us to spend more to save the economy, to create jobs, to make the nation strong.
Minimalism teaches us that we should do without. Environmentalism guides us into using less of nature’s resources, and to protect non-renewable and renewable resources alike. Survivalism demands that we eschew the excess of society and government, and rely on more primitive lifestyles.
Clearly, the urgings of governments are at odds with the “isms.” If we are to rely on the wisdom of collective society, then, we should heed our government, not our urges and isms.
Let us examine the paradox of using less being selfish. If we stop using energy, then the earth is not being depleted. However, if we stop using energy, then new research into alternatives will not be needed, and jobs will dry up. If we stop using energy, the cost-per-unit to produce for others will increase, and they will suffer, because of our decision.
If we consume less food, we deprive growers, processors and retailers of their livelihood. At the same time, cost=per-unit, again, will increase, placing a burden on those that do purchase.
If we get rid of one of our cars, we’ll save gas, and wear and tear on roads. But, for every 18 cars, one job is created directly, and four others indirectly.
If we opt to downsize our homes, countless tradesmen will suffer, not to mention lawyers, real estate agents, repairmen, etc.
If we choose to do without government programs and assistance, countless politicians will experience a sense of loss and abandonment, while bureaucrats will slowly become extinct!
And think of the loss if we choose to barter, grow our food, help each other instead of relying on social networks, learn to enjoy having less but experiencing more!
I choose, though, to live minimally. Instead of using and abusing, I leave, for others, the responsibility and burden of consuming too much, living too large and asking for too many rights. My right is the right to waive my “entitlement” to waste, and, if I am displaying a selfish attitude by so doing, that, too, is my right. There are too many in need for me to believe that rights are granted to me to take extra food out of the mouths of the poor, clean air out of the lungs of the sick and frail, and the right to share in the world’s resources from those that treat this world with respect.
I, indeed, suffer from one, if not all, of the isms. And I’ll proudly wear my badge of selfishness.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Bob, I just stumbled across your blogs when a google search came up with your article on articlesbase.
    I really like your ideas and thank you for sharing them on the web.
    I have shared them on my moretravelforless facebook page.
    I am in Australia, I have started blogging to share info about travelling on less money by housesitting, help exchange and the like.
    I like to reduce my living costs which not only saves planet resources but allows me to live this travelling lifestyle.
    Housesitting fits into the minimalist philosophy as the home owner does not have to spend money on a kennel to look after their pets and the house sitter can explore somewhere new without paying for accommodation. The house is secure and the pets are much happier!
    Similar with programs like Help Exchange and WWOOFing, where people can contribute their skills in return for a great in country experience.