It’s a Planet not an Empire

This morning, on my way to work I saw a bumper sticker on a car that read, “It’s a planet not an empire.”

This bumper sticker states something that I believe as an American society, we do not strive to be in harmony with nature. In the minds of many, it is our manifest destiny to conquer the planet. Plunder, consume and dispose is the engine that drives our wasteful economy.

How are we contributing to keeping in harmony with nature? I am guilty as anyone else, but I recognize it and attempting to make a difference.

Our family is committed to recycling. We take our compact florescent light bulbs to Home Depot for recycling. We always put our bottles and paper into the city supplied bins. We have made a commitment to insure that our electronics are taken to a place that states they properly dispose of electronics. Even after all this, we still accumulate a lot of trash that is going into a landfill.

E-Waste by Curtis Palmer
E-Waste by Curtis Palmer

Part of the reason why we are downsizing our home is because we have rooms that we do not use. We are consuming electricity created at the expense of our environment to heat the home. Having a bigger house than I need makes me feel that I have given into greed to live the American dream. This includes all the crap we accumulate to fill in all that extra space. Living this way, especially when the kids move out is very inefficient and would be better if a bigger family was to move in my house that had a need for the space.

Jerry Seinfeld performed a comedy routine on the Jimmy Fallon show the other night, where outlined how our homes are garbage processing centers. When we buy things, we place them in our homes and slowly degrade those items over time. He has such an amazing point, since everything that comes from dust, goes back to dust. We work ourselves to death, sacrificing time with our loved ones just to accumulate stuff and the house that holds it all in.

Our behavior of endless consumerism and conquering the planet will not last forever. This place, that the good Lord gave us is being abused. We have dug out so much coal that we are now having to go to extreme measures to find more. We are now fracking rocks to squeeze out every bit of oil we can to power our vehicles. All of this, so we can live comfortable lives for today, but what about tomorrow? We are consuming non-renewable resources so quickly, our children’s children will not live like we do today. We live in an amazing era on this planet, but there will be a price to pay for what we have done.

There are cities where traffic jams are a regular occurrence. Cars, manned by one person, creep along and consume fuel. Something about this really bothers me. I look forward to the proliferation of electric cars, although they consume stored energy in a different way, just not as liberally.

Each one of us can make a change in our lives to slow this progress or put a halt to it all together. Begin starting by thinking about what your impact is on the environment. Are you living an excessive lifestyle that leads to waste for vanity purposes at the expense of the planet? Strive for efficiency in all areas of your life wherever possible.

Image Source: Kevin Dooley

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