Stop Buying Stuff—a reminder

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All the products we consume take a toll on nature—directly or indirectly.

Over the years I have become more and more discouraged and angry at this nation’s refusal to acknowledge, at a national level and in a consistent way, the harm we do our planet and its life forms. Our Environmental Protection Agency is so lame that I have to ask whose interests it serves. Profit, not health, is the prime motivator in all business. Industrial processes which poison the air, water, and soil have been developed and left in place for decades because to change them will reduce profits. Of course, NOT changing them continues to poison the planet and sicken its organic populations, but for so long now that consideration has been pushed aside. The “sickness industry,” interconnected through pharmaceuticals, insurance, and the grossly expensive medical establishment, then makes money “curing” the conditions that industry has caused. This whole cycle is so blatantly interwoven that I wonder why more people don’t perceive it.

There was a time, perhaps, when we truly did not understand the long-term effects of poisoning our air, water, and soil. But we do understand now. We understand, we know enough. I am wondering if at some point we will go from ignorance-to-knowledge-to-wisdom, or if we will continue on our path of ignorance-knowledge-stupidity. It is sheer stupidity to continue poisoning ourselves, when we KNOW that we are creating the poisons that make us sick. At the most hopeless extreme, it is possible, I suppose, that the human race is just totally suicidal, but there are also some healthy clear thinkers around who understand that, to prevent that suicide, things have to CHANGE, now rather than later. We’ve known about the effects of industrial poisoning of the earth for a long time. Where is the heart, will, and spirit to correct our errors? Or are we training our children to accept illness as a “natural” state? It is not!

This topic is related to global warming, which in itself seems to be partly natural. A lot of folks want to hide behind the “natural” nature of earth changes and therefore release themselves from responsibility to the planet. We have all been trained to believe we can live our lives freely within what our culture offers without having to think about anything — someone else has done the thinking, someone else has figured it all out. It is more and more obvious that those “someones” haven’t cared very much about the planet or its plant, animal, and human populations for a long time—if ever.

So this is not about global warming per se, but it IS about responsibility. Do you want to be a creator or a destroyer? That is the uniquely human choice. We have the blessing and curse of free will. The animals do not make this kind of choice and they automatically live in harmony with the earth. They always do what is right. No animal ever decides to poison its own water supply! Unfortunately, it would seem, humans can choose one course or the other. But it is difficult to choose when we don’t have the facts and information, and when our schools and mass media continually give us mixed messages.

I will start by saying that by and large consumers have always been the victims of industry. It is a simple equation – we cannot buy what we are not offered. What we are offered is determined somewhere in the Halls of Profit, and what comes to market is what is determined to be products that will sell, whether or not they are good for us. To increase the chances that products will sell, huge amounts of money are spent on advertising to mind-numbingly pound home the message of how cool or smart you will be if you buy a certain product. Advertising has created and furthered the American Love Affair with the Automobile, overall to the detriment of the planet, and if you have looked at TV recently, there is no change in the message, even though it is now being applied to “green” vehicles which still combust and exhaust something. Electric cars at $100,000 per isn’t going to help rid the earth of the billions of gasoline-driven internal combustion engine vehicles that already exist. Nobody seems to be able to “get real” on this issue!

If you slow down just a second and look at the manufacturing processes involved in producing any product, there is only one conclusion you can come to: ALL modern manufacturing processes produce poisons which are emitted into the air, water, and soil, and carried who-knows-where by climactic forces. Our Environmental Protection Agency makes rules that it is OK to release certain percentages of poisons into the environment. Your government has agreed that it is OK to poison you and everything else. The argument that those are “miniscule” amounts of poisons isn’t a rational argument, since we end up with miniscule amounts of many, many poisons, the synergistic effects of which no one understands, certainly not the government or the medical industry.

To bring this to a personal level, let’s take a simple example, a CD player. Every single electrical product you can buy uses copper wire. Copper wire manufacturing produces sulfur dioxide — which travels on the winds until it comes to earth as acid rain, then it kills lakes, rivers, fish and forests. Your CD player kills forests, and for the pleasure of owning a CD player, YOU have now contributed to the destruction of forests. If you examine all the other components of your CD player, you’ll find other poisons associated with each piece. What is your level of responsibility here? You didn’t make the product, you didn’t agree that it was OK to poison the earth in making the product, but you bought the product. So … if you don’t know about any of this, you are guilty by ignorance, and if you do know, you are guilty by indifference, laziness, selfishness, malice, or stupidity … all those things that make Americans so loved worldwide.

There is the question of whether the use of microchips is reducing the amount of copper wire used in electronic devices. Even if so, cheap microchipped electronic devices have only lead to more trash. If you’ve noticed, there are no repair shops anymore. You’re told it’s cheaper to buy something new than to fix something old, and nobody wants to fix microchipped devices anyhow. There is no recycling center for most products, so it goes in the trash. You’re caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. No matter which choice you make, it’s the wrong one if you’re trying to free yourself from supporting poisonous production processes.

If you look at any manufacturing process you will find the same result: poisons. Farming is now considered manufacturing, since agri-business has replaced the family farm. How many tons of inorganic fertilizers, how much pesticide residue? All poisons. How many plastic products do you own? Plastics are a petrochemical product, an off-shoot of the oil industry. If we seriously want to reduce dependence on oil, we have to stop making plastics. Most Americans are so dependent on plastics that they don’t know how to live without them — plastic wrap and plastic containers for foods, plastic drinking bottles, plastic bowls and plates, plastic toys, plastic housings for electrical devices, plastic bumpers for cars. It has long been known that plastics do not biodegrade and, when burned, produce fumes that can harm or even kill you. The only thing that can be done with them is to recycle them … but not all of them are recyclable … which puts the recyclable ones back into the factory where they will be melted down and reformed, producing the same poisonous byproducts all over again. And how many people recycle their plastics? How many tons of plastics go into the trashcan and then to the landfill, where they will sit for umpteen years, unusable by the earth — or end up floating in a garbage mass in the middle of the ocean, usable by nothing? Even steel biodegrades over time into usable earth components, but not plastics.

Do you begin to get a small hint of the picture? Even if you are enlightened enough to want to take a few small steps toward reducing the poisoning of the earth, the objects you buy that are called “environmentally friendly” because they are more efficiently made and use less fuel, are still produced by processes that emit poisons into the earth, air, and/or water. So you are trapped. Even if you want to help, you can’t because the products that are offered to you continue to be made by poisonous processes.

The only solution to this problem is to stop buying stuff and actually write those letters and emails to companies, explaining to them that if they don’t develop new processes, nothing will ever change on this planet. Nothing can ever get better if the largest producers of poisons don’t stop producing them.

Schools need to be teaching this kind of awareness, even though the schools themselves are made up of products that have been produced exactly the same way.

We are all trapped in this industrially-produced poisonous environment. Native Americans lived on the North American continent for thousands of years without destroying it. But we, modern humans, primarily of European ancestry, have in only 300 years, since the beginning of the industrial revolution, managed to poison every corner of the globe. What have we been thinking???

It’s going to be a hard educational process to go through with your kids. Why can’t they have this and that? Why can’t they be cool and smart too? It’s only advertising that has told them which products are cool and smart. Advertising agencies which now produce ads telling us that “green” cars are cool and smart are still themselves using poison-producing products and methods to produce this “green” advertising! The circles are so tied together and so tight that every single process has to change in order for there to be significant change. But it behooves each component piece to begin. The consumer is the next-to-last component piece. We can stop buying and start telling manufacturers to get on with it and change their processes — use their profits for change, to make things better.

Do you know that more than 57 toxic chemicals have been identified in human blood and jet fuel has been found in breast milk? Examine any random person and they will have toxic elements in their blood. It’s in mine and yours. This is the result of our manufacturing processes. How can we sit by and say it’s OK for ourselves to be poisoned like this? I am personally of the opinion that every identified neurological disease and many unidentified ones, are directly produced by industrial poisons … the end result of people choosing to make products and money, not knowing or caring about the long-term effects of the processes that make them currently wealthy. The rich and the poor alike are harmed by all these poisons, as is every living thing. Even China, which is in such a hurry to jump on the global economic bandwagon, is now poisoning its rivers. Twenty years ago, when a friend was diagnosed with MS, I suggested he try traditional Chinese medicine for a cure. He was told there was no traditional Chinese medical cure for MS because they didn’t have MS in China. I wonder how long that will remain true. If this is American business being exported to the world, isn’t anyone going to ask, “Is it worth it?”

We overwhelmingly receive mixed messages on this topic. TV advertising is 98% same-old/same-old … eat, consume, buy, be cool, be smart, but better than someone else. The other 2%, public information messages, comes late at night when no children are watching. But even these are meaningless when all the other messages stay the same. The majority of messages say we don’t have to change. But if we want to stop poisoning ourselves and the planet, we DO have to change, each and every one of us. The only change a consumer can make is to NOT consume! Stop buying. Tell manufacturers you are tired of being their victims!

I recently heard that Timberland has taken steps to make its plant and manufacturing process more environmentally healthy. I thank them! And other companies I am not aware of. While these are in the minority at the moment, I do hope that we, the meek, the majority of the people on this earth, and all the animals and plants who have no voice, will eventually be liberated from this prison of poisons that has been created around us.

SAY NO. STOP BUYING. Use what you’ve got, stop being manipulated by advertising, get together in small groups and make villages. Work for yourselves and devise ways to do this that don’t poison the earth.


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