LIFE

Bayview Post - - Life -

The me­dia re­mind us daily of how well we’re sup­port­ing con­tin­ued eco­nomic growth, us­ing the Dow Jones av­er­age, S&P In­dex, price of gold and dol­lar’s value.

But where is the in­di­ca­tion of our real sta­tus — Earth­lings — an­i­mals whose very sur­vival and well-be­ing de­pend on the state of our home, planet Earth?

Do we think we can sur­vive with­out the other an­i­mals and plants that share the bio­sphere?

And does our health not re­flect the con­di­tion of air, wa­ter and soil that sus­tain all life?

It’s as if they mat­ter only in terms of how much it will cost to main­tain or pro­tect them.

Na­ture, in­creas­ingly un­der pres­sure from the need for con­stant eco­nomic growth, is of­ten used to spread the con­sump­tion mes­sage.

Na­ture has long been ex­ploited in com­mer­cials — the lean move­ment of lions or tigers in car ads, the cute­ness of par­rots or mice, the strength of crocodiles, etc.

But now an­i­mals are por­trayed to ac­tively re­cruit con­sumers.

I’m es­pe­cially nau­se­ated by the shot of a pen­guin of­fer­ing a stone to a po­ten­tial mate, be­fore be­ing shamed by another pen­guin of­fer­ing a fancy di­a­mond neck­lace.

How can we have se­ri­ous dis­cus­sions about the eco­log­i­cal costs and lim­its to growth or the need to de­grow economies when con­sump­tion is seen as the very rea­son the econ­omy and so­ci­ety ex­ist?

When I see all of this, I look back at the val­ues and out­look my par­ents had dur­ing the Great De­pres­sion that they drummed into my sis­ters and me.

“Save some for to­mor­row,” they of­ten scolded. “Share; don’t be greedy.” “Help oth­ers when they need it be­cause one day you might need to ask for their help.” “Live within your means.”

Their most im­por­tant mes­sage was, “You must work hard for the ne­ces­si­ties in life, but don’t run af­ter money as if hav­ing fancy clothes or big cars make you a bet­ter or more im­por­tant per­son.”

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