“Are you doing your part?” and “Save the planet.” During Earth Week, we’ll being hearing a lot of these phrases, both part of “going green” and saving our worn down environment. But hey…why is the focus of this wildfire movement limited to the abused natural resources? Don’t get me wrong I am all for living a more eco-friendly life, but I am also all for equalizing access to resources around the world as we abusers (myself included) cut back. Not only do most people in the United States waste an extraordinary amount of resources, but we simultaneously and unconsciously contribute to the absence of resources in the lives of people in less wealthy parts of the world.
Going green is supposed to be a global movement, but if going green means cutting back and giving back then it’s not something that can be asked of everyone. Some people on this planet don’t have that privilege. About 1.1 billion people in the world live with inadequate access to water, while the average American uses about 600 liters of water every single day. It becomes very clear with this example and others who needs to be cutting back. So yes, let’s make it global, and how about by “going green” we don’t just think of it as cutting back, but we make it about spreading what we’ve got and what we use more equally. Spreading the greenness could mean spread the wealth (50% of which is distributed among only 6.3% of the world’s population), share the resources (and yes still use them sparingly). Our only problem is not using too much, its also having an unequal distribution of access and resources.
About 1.2 billion people in the world suffer from hunger and about 1.2 billion people in the world are overweight or obese. The two couldn’t correlate more directly. So say if the billion people who gain weight from eating too much didn’t consume so much, there might have been exactly enough food available to properly nourish everyone in the world. No, its not that simple. But it really should be. On top of wastefulness in consuming more than we need (and more than are bodies are built to take in), 50% of the food ready to be harvested in the U.S. is never eaten. So basically, in the U.S., food is imported from all over the world so that we can have exotic meals (often in the process exploiting labor and waste transportation energy), and we are throwing away food that grows in our own country at the same time as billions of humans in other places (sometimes in the very same places we import our delicacies from) struggle for adequate nourishment.
People are doing much more than wasting what our planet has to give. People are causing poverty, hunger and inaccessibility to necessities through a system of overconsumption of stuff. Basically, some of us are just taking too much. That is, too much for the planet to handle and more than everybody else seems to be getting. So maybe sometime soon we’ll be a little more used to hearing things like “Are you taking more than your share?” Maybe as a part of a movement working toward a greener, more balanced Earth, focused on saving the environment and the people in it.