Normally, when you think of gluttony, you think of overeating: overconsuming, polluting our bodies with worthless junk, and inevitably paying the price, with poor health and all the negative effects caused by not respecting ourselves and our immediate world. A recent article in the 4 June 2021 issue of The Guardian Weekly brought this to light in a rather novel way. We have thought about this before. People have written about it before, but has anything really changed? A Canadian bestselling author and journalist, JB MacKinnon, is on a mission to get us to view our “gluttony” in a new way. His new book, “The Day the World Stops Shopping” shows us what would happen if, instead of just talking about it, we actually ceased shopping. The earth could start to reclaim its former beauty and our eyes would be opened to the wonders around us. However, like anything, this would be a double-edged sword. Production lines would plummet and millions of workers lose their jobs. We would be plunged into a massive economic depression. But, something needs to happen. The fast-paced, ever-increased consumption of food, junk food, fast fashion, and discounted plastic gadgets with their planned obsolescence has become one of the main factors, if not the main factor for our environmental crisis. According to MacKinnon, we are devouring the planet’s resources 1.7 times faster than they can be regenerated. An average size garbage can of the 1950’s was a 10-gallon galvanized metal can. Most people had one, some people had two. Our garbage cans today are plastic behemoths that hold anywhere from 32 – 50 gallons. Why is that? Is our constant striving for more and more ultimately satisfying? But, luckily, the tide is starting to turn. In Sado Island in the Sea of Japan and in the suburbs outside Seattle, many people are practicing “downturning”. They buy fewer books, frequent the public libraries, gather together to play games. One of my fondest memories as a child was getting together with my mother, grandmother and great aunt and playing games on Friday night. And on Sundays we would all get together at my paternal grandparents house. No one could make Italian food like my Granny. Those times were precious. And like most kids, I enjoyed them, but never fully appreciated how quickly those times would be gone. The best times I had with my family had nothing to do with “things”, or mind-numbing commercials, as a matter of fact.
Thank you, JB MacKinnon. Your article has got me thinking. I’m going to check out your book, at the public library.
Till the next time.
“You never miss the water until the well runs dry.” -Anon