Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Standard of Living vs. Quality of Life

We visited Aunt Connie in Southern Utah several years ago. She guided us to ancient ruins of villiages where people lived in hogans. We examined fragments of fine pottery. The thing that struck me most was, simple and probably rugged though their lifestyle, they probably had a better quality of life than I. I don't know this, but it seemed to be. I imagined fathers living close to their families and not having a lot of complicated machinery to maintain and be a cog of. But even though their technology was primitive, men are men and there may well have been a system in place for the power hungry to grind the face of the common man. Could be that his quality of life was no better than mine, who knows? But if you imagine it, people working together with each other and nature and none gouging any, indeed they would greatly prosper without hurting the earth or abusing each other. Their burdens would be very light. They would have quality of life. Family togetherness.

I just picked up a paragraph from Wilkepedia:

Deep ecology establishes principles for the well-being of all life on Earth and the richness and diversity of life forms. This is only compatible with a substantial decrease of the human population and the end of human interference with the nonhuman world. To achieve this, deep ecologists advocate policies for basic economic, technological, and ideological structures that will improve the quality of life rather than the standard of living . Those who subscribe to these principles are obliged to make the necessary change happen. (Devall, W. and G. Sessions (1985). Deep Ecology: Living As If Nature Mattered. Layton, Utah: Gibbs Smith, p. 70. ISBN 9780879052478)

This was written by someone who knew what I am talking about. But they do not have the right solution. The Lord declared, "For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves. Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment."

I do not believe in a hands-off policy. We should be scientific and proactive; we are agents. We have dominion. We have the Lord's guidance. The earth did not just happen, so its maintenance should not be left to "nature" nor should it be left to evil men.

I call for people with a concience everywhere to stop consuming what they do not need. My favorite example is our brand-new "dependence" on refridgeration. Please! We have nearly 100% of our citizens in the US maintaining a guesstimated average of 65 degrees all summer long in their vehicles and buildings, whether they live in Georgia, Texas or North Dakota. I have never lived more than 6 months in a state where air conditioning was even useful, let alone needed. Why do the same people need to be in a 75 degree environment all winter long and a 60 degree environment all summer long? I used to ride a bus for an hour and 20 minutes to and from work across the cool Southeast Idaho desert during the summer time. The temperature (according to my memory) ranged between 70 and 90 degrees. I had to wear my long winter overcoat to ride and sleep on the bus because they always cranked the a/c to maintain a temperature somewhere in the 50's or close to it. This in an area where people lived comfortably in the summer without refridgeration for thousands of years, where there are no bugs to speak of, and sweat is a rare thing. I now live in Pennsylvania. It gets humid sometimes and sometimes it's hot. But we still have no use for air conditioning. One of my favorite things in life is having a fresh cool breeze waft in through an open (screenless) window on a hot and humid day or evening. People who live in a/c never get fresh air. They could go travel in space and never be unhappy. Finally, I have to ask, if we had it through the history of man until the last 110 years, WHAT IS WRONG WITH SWEAT?????????????????????????????????????????????

We think we must maintain our standard of living and light up the world. Why? Turn on a light when you need it. Why do we need to light up China? I will tell you who says we need to light up China: people selling commercial nuclear power. Do they have a reason? Yes - only that it will put money in their pocket and they will be able to say, "We lit up China. It was dark at night, looking from space, and the US was all lit up. Now they are both lit up." Why are we more concerned with "safety" and "security" than the environment? Why can't we use other, more direct and effective methods to find our way in the dark and combat crime than light? Why don't we carry a flashlight or just go to bed at night???????????

Everywhere I look, tons of excess extravagance. Most of it serving only to insulate from lawsuits and/or to make a marketing pitch.

But I just love that phrase, "improve the quality of life rather than the standard of living ."