Declaration of Independence

June 22, 2007

Trolling my favorite money sites, I found an interesting speech given to the United Nations by Vicki Robin, co-author of Your Money or Your Life.  In her speech Declaration of Independence From Overconsumption  Ms. Robin talks about the catastrophy of overconsumption on ourselves, our country, our humanity and our earth. 

The toll of overconsumption can be seen from many angles.    Ms. Robins makes a good case that in our “more is better” mentality, we are creating a global mess by tolerate wars over natural resources, such as oil, necessary to produce these goods and we allow corporations to indulge in wasteful, polluting or even unethical practices in our quest for more for less.   Each of these issues affects us individually but more importantly, it all has a global impact.  You know the old saying about tossing a pebble in the pond and seeing the ripples.  Personally, the more we consume the more we have to work both to pay for the goods and to actually  keep the goods clean and in working order, leading to a lower quality of life by leaving less time for ourselves, family and friends.  Overconsumption leads to debt, which leads to economic weakness for both individuals and the overall country because there is a less overall savings safety net, higher bankruptcies and less money to invest in infrastructure, education and future needs.

There are over 6 billion people in the world.  Can the earth sustain every one of those in a lifestyle in which the average American is accustom?  The answer is no.  The average American life is not sustainable because it uses enormous amounts of natural resources to produce just what American’s consume – only approximately 600,000,000 of the 6 billion people on the earth.  All ready at our pace, the earth is expected to be depleated of most non-renewable resources in just a century.  Not only will it depleat resources but more and greater consumption leads to more production that causes vast amounts of toxins and waste, vast deforestation, oil depletion, and depletion of fresh water causing species extinction, erosion, forest fires, enormous and vastly far more destructive hurricanes and storms. 

Ms. Robins challenges us all to sign a Declaration of Independance to become independant of consumption and consumer waste.  She challenges us to reign in our lifestyle to a sustainable level and to work toward minimizing the impact to ourselves consuming less, working less, giving ourselves more time for each other, civic responsibilities and ourselves and thereby reducing the overall global impact of our actions. 

I am signing a Declaration of Independance. I don’t want the things money can buy, I want time with my family, with my friends, with my hobbies and for myself. 

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