Yesterday’s post about waste was from a developing world point of view, but I read an interesting counterpoint last night. It’s from Mark Burch, writing on the idea of Sufficiency for the Simplicity Institute.
“The very goal of consumer culture, which is universal affluence, ignores the definition of affluence which is ‘more than enough; abundance; excess beyond need.’ If we think about it, that which is beyond what is needed can only be one thing: waste.”
Under that definition, it’s little wonder that in an affluent society, we waste a third away of the food we buy and a third of the energy used to heat our homes, or that we have a landfill shortage and an obesity problem. This is all evidence of our success, if affluence is to be our goal.
That’s why we need a better understanding of good living, and a definition of wealth that is healthier for the planet and fairer to those who don’t yet have what they need.