Break the Christmas Craziness

December 12, 2008

I am not a religious person.  However, I watched this video and was moved by the message – spend less, give more of yourself, simplify Christmas, live simply so that others may simply live.

The Advent Conspiracy

According to this, it would cost $10 billion to provide safe drinking water to every person on the planet.  Yet Americans spent over $450 billion on Christmas last year and many people still lack safe drinking water and die from diseases caused by water contamination.

Something to think about.   Every pebble into the pond causes ripples all the way to the edge.  Every dollar we spend in the United States affects, advertently or inadvertently, someone living in dire poverty in the third world.

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According to the Webster’s New Millennium Dictionary 2003-2006 Voluntary Simplicity is a lifestyle that is less pressured due to a focus away from accumulation of goods and more toward non-material aspects of life.

It is no longer a theory that the earth is headed on a collision course due to human consumption.  A 2005 report backed by over 1,000 of the world’s leading scientists warned that almost two-thirds of the world’s resources have already been consumed.  That is a frightening thought.  And even more shameful is that the largest portion of the world’s resources is consumed by the United States in our quest for more, quicker, faster, better products.  We glibly throw away containers that cost more than many people in the world make in a month.  We easily toss precious natural resources down the drain and into the sewers or into huge holes in the ground where we bury our unwanted, out of fashion but perfectly workable items.  Or we buy inferior, cheaply made products that have to be replaced time and time again. 

 This quest for bigger, better, faster and newer is the modern American dream.  Instant gratification is the name of the game.  We see advertisements every day that a new living room suite of furniture can be yours with no interest and no payment for three years.  What they don’t tell you is at the end of that three years the interest has compounded, circumstances may change or the furniture may need or want to be replaced again driving you further and further into debt.  Not only is this modern American dream destroying the environment by using resources at liberty without thought to where it comes from or how it is made, but this constant cycle of debt is endangering  the economy, our health, our mental and emotional health, our families and our communities.  People have to work longer and longer hours to continuously purchase items that drastically outpace their income.   Debt has become fashion and workers are tied to the “company store” to repay their lenders.  

Voluntary simplicity is rejecting the modern American dream of consumption, debt and slave to work in order to find more a more meaningful life.   All ages and types of people practice voluntary simplicity.  Many people reduce as a social justice statement.  Others do so to make a political statement.  And others still are simply tired of being tied to a job they once loved but came to resent after years of grinding away getting further and further behind.  Whatever the reason, the movement is growing across the first world and people are actively seeking a different, better way of life; a life where they are in control, not their debt or their employers.   A life that is full, rich in ways that money cannot purchase and socially and environmentally balanced.