5 Aug, 2013
Society - Consumption


Monday is originally my gear day, but I will post my article about dynamic range tomorrow as I am on the bus at the moment and wanna post some sample images with it.


This week my Monday will be my Tuesday. One big problem in our world of today is consumption. We all use much too much of everything. Really? Well, you may argue, so what, humans only live for a hundred years maximum, why not do whatever you want? Fair enough, but what‘s the point about being a human when you only care about yourself. Aren‘t we here on earth to make the best out of everyone‘s life, aren‘t we here to be compassionate, to help others, too, and keep our planet tidy. We may not, but to me that‘s one important thing about being a „good“ human being.


What does consumption have to do with being a good or bad human? Like with most everything consumption has at least two sides, precisely it has something to do with physics. Consuming something means some energy has to be put into it to create it in the first place. In our world it‘s easily illustrated. To drive a car for example you need gas. To drive a big car you need more gas to travel the same distance. To drive the bigger car fast you need even more gas. Gas consumption is bad twofold. You first have to extract oil to produce it. Because we used so many billions of tons of oil we now do very silly things like Drilling or Fracking even in the most dangerous or precious places, for example on the oceans‘ floor in earthquake regions of the world. We take the risk to pollute the environment tremendously to simply get oil. Why do we do this? Because our consumption of oil is so high that we simply „need“ it. What for? For cars, ships, planes, to produce plastic and all sorts of synthetics and for millions of other things. Oil is our lifeblood. But isn‘t it a bad idea to risk our precious mother earth to get this oil?


You may think after all those centuries human kind should be wise enough to have alternatives. There certainly are, many! Which? One very easy but highly effective one is to consume less. That‘s uncomfortable!? Well, to tell you the truth, it‘s high time. Pollution and global warming are at a point where reduction is actually necessary to prevent the worst. And it often means you do not even have to compromise or give up on too much. Driving an electric or hybrid car will also bring you to your final destination by consuming far less gas thus oil. There's also things like wind or solar energy, water power plants, natural materials, kinetic energy recovery systems to only name a few.


Second bad thing about oil is the fact that it‘s consumption comes along with emission of carbon dioxide, very bad for our climate worsen global warming even more.


And third, consuming less oil has another very useful impact to improving the situation, it‘s saving our own money. Driving a hybrid car saves you enough money on a trip to pay for an extra evening in a bar with your friends or to buy a present for yourself or your partner. Beside you play a part in contributing to saving our world, pretty cool, eh!?


Well, you may not like to contribute to a better world and simply love to drive big cars and fly even on the shortest trips. Fair enough, but don‘t expect attentive people to respect you, for a good reason.


But it‘s not about oil alone. Consuming less also refers to other things, and remember, as long as it‘s something made out of plastic oil is used again. A really bad thing today for so many reasons is meat! Meat? Why meat? Aren‘t humans meat eaters, we are, but only to some extend. Our meat consumption has become pretty excessive over the years. Do you remember the good old times of Sunday roast. You may argue we‘re not in war times anymore, right. But we don‘t need to eat salami in the morning, a sausage for lunch and a steak for dinner every day either. Meat production is very energy consuming. Why? Because a huge amount of material, effort and time has to be put into the whole production process. It starts with the feed for the animals, manure and water for the fields for the crop, then factories in the production chain to stables and breeding. It‘s quite logical that it consumes far more resources, time and money to first breed animals with vegetables and crop instead of eating both strait ;-) So, we can contribute to a better world by simply eating less meat? Yes! And we don‘t have to kill innocent animals either, bravo!


Why do we all consume so much? It‘s our capitalist system that not only makes billions of money out of the production of all those things, it actually is dependent on this massive amount we consume. Why? Because most companies are stock companies listed at the stock markets. Share holders are expecting better financial results every year thus we need to consume even more to really satisfy those people. I say those people because shares are held by institutional investors mainly, not normal citizens, not so great, right? And worse, when citizens try to invest themselves they get suckered by the investors and banks. And when those banks go bankrupt because their greed knew no boundaries. Guess who pays the bail-out, the poor, dumb citizens. Ring!? Sorry for simplifying but you get the point. But to stick to the topic, our world is related to shareholder value. It‘s not a vicious circle, though, it‘s just that in 2013 companies are trying nearly everything they can to make us believe we needed all those things and worse, even more of it every year. Advertising tells us we need new cellphones as soon as possible, there are idiotically many car models on the market and every year it‘s becoming even more new ones. That‘s part of the terrible throwaway society we‘ve deteriorated to. Most things, even expensive things, don‘t last very long anmore, they don‘t need to because the system is telling us to buy new things soon enough anyway. Too bad, I love to use old things and love things that last long or that are efficient. I am wearing shirts I bought 15 years ago and they still look great.


Clothes is another field that has become completely pervert. Workers in the production chain are mostly suffering really bad working conditions because share holder value forces companies to squeeze out every bit they can compromising on labour conditions and industrial safety. The result are burning or collapsing factories with thousands of innocent workers dying who are treated inhuman in the first place anyway, disgusting! That‘s one reason why I created my clothing collection in the best and most appropriate way possible. Although I know that it's difficult to sell those clothes because most people don‘t care and I can understand it. Why buy a T-Shirt that has sole production cost of nearly 10 € (marketing and everything else not included) when consumers can buy a Jeans on Sale at stores like kik for as low as 1,50 €. People are hardly earning enough themselves to afford a normal living. Labour law and wages is another problem in a system that needs to produce as cheap as possible instead of building on fair and human standards and respecting those.


OK, longer than planned, synopsis, let‘s consume less of everything, going completely without is not necessary most of the time, although in some case you just get used to it and don‘t feel for it anymore, meat for example. Drinking less beer helps, too ;-)


See you next time, happy saving