Our nation’s sustainability

In a post on Everyday Sociology Sally Raskoff discusses our countries newfound relationship with the word sustainability. She makes it clear that we have not always been the first to jump on environmentally friendly policies and our sheer consumption of the world’s resources is a clear depiction of how we view them…never ending. More recently though we have turned being “green” into a new fad. From electric cars to celebrity hosted shows on how to make you home more eco-friendly, pop-culture has adopted environmentalism as its new pet.

However, when discussing a capitalistic society that lives and plans from quarter to quarter the meaning of sustainability reaches beyond the scope of natural resources, it can be applied to the basic existence of our country. Basic capitalism states that constant growth must always be present for the economy to survive. How is it possible to keep growing and using more amounts of resources than we are today? Eventually sources of trees, fresh water, and soil will all be depleted and the waste from our cars and factories will increase to levels we are not prepared as a nation to deal with. How is it possible for our economy to survive after consumer levels drop drastically? Once people don’t have anything left to consume and production levels cannot be maintained there wont be capitalism. This issue raises the point that our country eventually will have to face the facts about itself and not mask them with a celebrity campaign band-aid.

I have been learning about the power of fear and how its used by the media and government to control people in a Psychology class. Why is it that the things we really need to be afraid of are rarely mentioned in the news?  And yet the headlines are constantly littered with stories about the octuplet mom and dramatized accounts of rare violent acts.  When I make the mistake of stumbling onto the Fox News channel I hear so much propaganda about how America is going to become a Socialist nation and how the economy is doing so poorly due to President Obama’s stimulus package, etc. I know Fox News is a bad example of good journalism (how much merit does anything Rupert Murdoch owns have?) however, I cant help but see the lack of attention every news network (and the majority of the public for that matter) pays to the declining reality of our nation’s sustainability.


2 Responses

  1. Wildly good timing for this post, Meg! The UAS showing of “A Really Inconvenient Truth” played tonight. It totally covered (along with the panel discussion afterwords) the idea of capitalism and democracy coexisting and whether or not it is feasible.

    The biggest critique made in the film was of Gore’s inability to take the changes he was recommending (for example fuel efficient vehicles) out of the capitalist structure (he rails about our inability to sell our vehicles in China because we don’t meet their environmental standards, or basically the idea that we need to become competative). It was a decently interesting film (the way it was put together was not entirely grabbing, plus some of the critique was a little weak) but an even more interesting panel discussion.

    You really encapsulate the ridiculousness of our (“our” being the WORLD) situation well. I wish I had any beneficial insight whatsoever; I can’t help but think “who knows?”

  2. In my other ssci class, self culture and society, the focus this semester is materialism, and how being in a consumer society is slowly detroying the earth. This green fad is interesting, and if the fad sticks around, there could be positive effects upon the world, but the largest problem is that in the capitalistic-consumer society that we are in, there is little room NOT to spend money and buy things that have a large ecological wake. That hybrid car is great, but all of the parts where made across the world, and then shipped to a production facility, and then shipped to where it was sold. So the green fad is a fun illusion, but it might do the world better if in stead of driving a hybrid that was assembled in Mexico, you drive a moderately fuel effiecient car that was built locally. Next to immpossible in the current economic times, but it would be much greener then what is happening now.

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