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Opinion

Simplicity offers better life

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October 18, 2007

There is something driving me to discuss an issue with you. Before I discuss that issue, I will explain the driving forces within me.

One issue stems from the world’s population growing at an exponential rate. Another is that human beings have reached peak oil, meaning there is a constant downslope of our oil supply from here on out. Another is the warming of our earth’s atmosphere. It is rising in temperature at an unheard-of rate. Ice caps are melting, and shorelines are receding.

Where are the millions of people on the shorelines going to go? They will become mere refugees in other countries (if they haven’t already drowned) while overstepping the country’s carrying capacities and asking for nothing but chaos.

As our oil continues to deplete, how are future generations going to power factories that make all of our goods? How will farmers be able to run their equipment that grows the food that humans take for granted every day of their lives? How will we have electricity to run our second brain “the computer” that we rely so heavily on? Without these things, what will humans do?

The issue that I would like to discuss with you is sustainability. It means preserving the earth now, so future generations will have a decent quality of life. Making the choice now to switch to renewable energy will prevent us from sucking the oil dry. It will give future generations the chance to cope with the cards they are dealt.

The food at the grocery store typically comes from thousands of miles away. Think of all the energy it takes just to transport it to your convenient setting. The solution to this is eating local. Buying food from local farmers tends to be healthier and benefits the local economy, and the energy used for transportation is minimal.

Americans are five percent of the world’s population, yet we consume 25 percent of its resources. This does not seem right to me. Is it the quality of life society has brainwashed us into thinking we need to have? Do we really need 10 pairs of shoes and every color and style of everything else?

It seems to me that Americans buy and buy and buy, and can never have enough. What built this sick intrinsic value inside of our brains? My house better be bigger than yours, ‘cause if it’s not, I’m going to buy a bigger one. My Lexus is better than your Toyota.

This is the mentality of so many Americans. Why can’t we all just realize that materialism gets us nowhere? It just digs us deeper into a hole that we may never be able to get out of.

The simpler things in life such as love, friendship and family are the things that actually mean something. When we’re on our deathbed at the end of the road, we are not going to look back and think, “Wow, my life was really fulfilling because I had the nicest house on the block and a car that everyone was jealous of.”

The moral of the story is that materialism means nothing. We can change our ways now to live a more sustainable life and still be happy. We don’t need everything that we’re brainwashed to think we do. If we all work together on this, hopefully future generations will at least have a chance.

-Rose is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in environmental science. She is the news director for 88.7 FM WRFW and has a weekly public affairs program. Her career goal is to save the world.

Rose Rongitsch is a student at UW-River Falls.