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.”