Monday, July 09, 2007

Enough is Enough

I was chatting with folks about the 7/07/07 Live Concerts around the world sponsored by Al Gore and focused on global warming. A big topic that keeps coming up is the economy--well, the consumer economy. That unless we confront this elephant in the living room, we really can't make much of a dent in the global warming issue. Oh, yes, great to change the lightbulbs but its got to be much bigger than this.

So, the story goes something like this: Yes, global warming is a problem but in order to correct it, we've got to stop consuming at the massive levels we're used to consuming at. But if we stop consuming then the economy will tank, this will result is global crisis with millions of people out of work and no way to pay bills, etc. So, we shut our eyes and keep consuming because what else can we do??? And even if global warming is an issue, even if we are running out of resource materials to make all this stuff and thus, decimating the earth--right now I've got a mortgage to pay!

Thus, we stick our heads in the sand and no one--not even Al Gore for god's sake--is willing to address the consumer economy. But I marvel how no one can envision a solution that is right in front of our faces! The word is sufficiency--enough. We need to build an 'enough economy'--and in the process, yes, we'll create greener businesses, we'll massively slow down our consumption but done with consciousness--we could plan for a 10 year transition to 'enough'.

What does an 'enough economy' look like? Well, first there will be plenty of work--but each of us will work 'enough' and no more. What will we be doing if we're not working the crazy rat-race pace we currently do in the consumer economy? Why, living of course! Building all the other pieces of our Life Puzzle! Taking time for exercise; eating healthier food; (much of which we'll have time to grow ourselves), being there for our children; (who we've certainly abandoned in the consumer economy because we're always working!) being there for our communities; (you can spend a whole lot less on taxes when you have time to do so many of the services we now pay others to do); living fiscally responsible lives; (instead of the debt-burdened mess that comes with a consumer economy) and having time to reconnect to friends, family and the earth!

It's so totally doable if we start talking and planning for it now. And we may as well--because here's the double whammy we're confronted with:
Right now we keep consuming at record pace because we're afraid if the economy shuts down all hell will break loose. But doing this increases the impact of global warming and sets us up for massive system failures--or all hell will break loose!. The end point of this game is that eventually everything shuts down anyway (and worse case scenario--humans are off the planet!)

Now, an 'enough economy' that essentially brings Life to the front instead of money/stuff will result in lots of changes right now--that's for sure. But these are changes we can prepare for and manage--there are lots of folks working on new green businesses, reassessing our 'success indicators' so we factor in true cost accounting--thus businesses will change to meet these new indicators. Yes, in transition it is going to be a bumpy ride--but look at the endpoint! We have healthier lives, happier families, more secure communities and a global world working on the premise that 'enough is just that--enough' and joyous to boot.

So...take a moment and start thinking--what would your life look like if your focus was on just on 'enough'. That you really looked at how that can be defined for you and then start heading towards enough. What would change in your lifestyle? Would you work less? Would you sell off tons of stuff you don't need, use or every really wanted? Would you have time for your spouse, your kids, your community?

It is time to say "Enough is enough--we've consumed too much! It is time for a switch and that switch is Enough".

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