This is a response to a comment I received on a recent post of mine. I have chosen to post it as a post because it is quite lengthy and it contains a great deal of my values and my beliefs that I want to share.
You can read the original comment here.
Ok, so first of all Roberta I would like to thank you for your incredible response to my very short and spontaneous attempt at poetry. I will attempt to answer your comment to the best of my ability but I certainly won’t claim to be an expert on the matters presented at all. My opinions, and my beliefs, have been formed over many years from various sources and from what I have witnessed and continue to witness around me every day. I won’t try to change your beliefs either. I can see that you are incredibly passionate about your viewpoints and your religious beliefs; I simply want to try to explain my point of view for you and I hope that you can accept that these views are my own.
I think that as a society in general we place a great deal of value on owning things and using things, mostly just to enhance our self-image. Whilst I wasn’t referring to any one person or any group of people in particular this behaviour to continuously desire something new, or the latest model, bigger this, bigger that is widespread. I can certainly admit that I have desired things for no other reason than just wanting it because it was new and I felt that it made me just that little bit happier, or complete. Only to discover that the happiness wears off leaving one wanting something else to give me that happiness again. This is what I meant by ‘insatiable desire’.
This ‘insatiable desire’ to ‘consume and acquire’ does have an impact on the environment in, often, unsustainable ways. Not just in the production but also the disposal of the ‘outdated’ items. I know that there are companies out there that work to ensure that these kind of items are disposed of safely and recycled where possible but there are places in the world where landfills are just full of old computers and TVs. Some of the components in these items can be toxic to the environment. I think that technology is a blessing that has connected the world through the internet, provided scientific breakthroughs and in recent decades has provided sources of environmentally friendly sources of energy which will hopefully start to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels which is an unsustainable resource that the production of, and use of damages our environment.
I do own a computer and you rightly observed, I do also have a cell phone which I admittedly use very little. It is merely a means of communication for close friends. I don’t watch television, I do watch movies and documentaries though but I fail to make the connection between movies and the points in my poem. I don’t have a car but I have owned cars in the past. I do think cars are incredibly useful, another good advancement in technology that has served a purpose in allowing us to travel further than we did previously by horse, or on foot. Today, we are also starting to see cars that are less and less reliant on fuel and hopefully we will soon see cars that have no need for the burning of fuels that release harmful emissions into our atmosphere. The technology exists but the ‘endlessly greedy’ haven’t found a way to capitalise and control such technologies for their financial gain. I do think though that far too much importance is placed on cars as a status symbol or a means of enhancing ones projected self-image.
You bought up the topic of food, this is another area that I have some strong opinions of. Another area that we display ‘endless greed’ and ‘insatiable desire’ for sure. I think that, in general, we are consuming much more food than our body needs for survival, and we are consuming far too much of the wrongs foods. Global obesity rates clearly point to this fact. Our over-consumption has led to the creation of food that simply is not food at all. Our supermarkets are full of it! Some of this ‘manufactured’ food contains huge amounts of bizarre ingredients and chemicals that just can not be healthy for us. Advancements in agriculture have allowed us to continuously feed a growing population and to meet our demands. However, to meet this growing demand reliably, the introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) has landed, which I think is a poor use of our advancements in technology. These GMO plants, fruits, vegetables are harmful to our health. Studies have been conducted all around the world to support this and many countries have started to accept GMO products across their borders. Going back a step, we are using harmful chemicals such as pesticides to aid in the growing of crops which not only has an impact on us, the consumers, but also the ground rendering that soil useless and toxic after some time. I choose to support locally grown, organic produce as much as I can, finances allowing, and I keep the consumption of ‘packaged food’ to a minimum. In the end, we do all need to eat but we have a choice of what it is we are putting in to our bodies, where it has come from and how it was grown/raised.
I believe that, on a global scale, we have misplaced values that have been handed to us from our parents, peers, co-workers, mainstream media etc, and it’s not our fault, we/they don’t know any differently. And these values are having a negative impact on the environment. Whilst it may not happen in our lifetime if we continue with some of our ways we are likely to deplete the Earth of its beauty, its resources and make life incredibly difficult for us humans. It raises the question, ‘should we really care?’ if it isn’t going to happen in our lifetime. I choose to care and I choose to be a part of the solution by expressing my opinions in the hope to raise some awareness. I also hope to be a part of the solution by making decisions that improve, rather than harm. If just one person understands my ramblings and understands my concerns then I will have succeeded in making a difference. I am only a young guy but I hope to one day have a family and I want to be able to say that I spent my time trying to improve the planet for the benefit of future generations. Now I am not saying that you don’t, by any means. I just feel that people are so caught up in their work-consume-acquire-repeat cycle of life that they perhaps stop to think about how their actions and decisions are affecting the world, the people, the environment around them.
Whether your beliefs tell you that God has everything under control or not, I think that medical sciences have provided much evidence to support the benefits of choosing healthier foods over bad foods, and environmental sciences have pointed out our need for clean air and water. These are all decisions that we make for ourselves on a minute to minute basis. I think that our reliance on religious faiths can only go so far, we need to be responsible for our actions on a personal level and on a wider community level to really make a difference.
I may have meandered off topic at times but I hope I have helped you to understand my little poem a little more by understanding me and my values/beliefs. I really appreciate you taking the time to comment on my poem and I have really enjoyed writing this response as it has really bought out my passion.
With great respect and regards,