Earth Matters by Jacqueline Milner – Growth or Sustainability? December 29, 2011

Earth Matters by Jacqueline Milner – Growth or Sustainability?    December 29, 2011
CFN – Reflecting on some of the images and words shared on line concerning peoples’ Christmas celebrations and the amount of “stuff” involved in such a holiday I cannot help but ask myself, “What the heck are we doing”.  Human consumption whether for survival or for having the “latest model” of something is affecting the health and survival of our planet.  If we wish to sustain our world population now and for future generations great thought and action must be given to consuming less and by making the full cycle of production, use and disposal sustainable.“What would a sustainable society look like?  It would meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.  It would be a system that respects the limits, the carrying capacity of natural systems.  It would be powered by renewable energy sources and, so far as possible, would emulate nature, WHERE ONE ORGANISM’S WASTE IS ANOTHER’S SUSTENANCE.  We have the technologies needed to make a sustainable society happen.  The question is whether we have the political will?”  ~Quantum Theology, Diarmuid O’Murchu~

Our own well-being is intimately tied to the diversity and health of eco-systems on our own planet.  Maintaining diverse eco-systems such as wetlands and forests is vital for our health and that of our living planet.  Paraphrasing Chief Seattle, “whatever befalls the earth, befalls man”.
According to Mike Nickerson “humankind is faced with an historic challenge.  Collectively, we have grown to where we are stretching the limits of our planet, yet society’s goal is more growth.  Now that continued expansion is causing our biggest problems, we need a goal that aims to stabilize our impacts”.  Evidenced by information in the “Millennium Ecosystem Assessment” Wikipedia confirms that “global scale scientific data now indicates that humans are living beyond the carrying capacity of planet Earth and that this cannot continue indefinitely”.

What can we do?  Each individual action that each of us makes can collectively make a huge difference and pave the road for sustainability.  Personally I make the most of the “things” that I have.  I do not need, nor want the latest model of “whatever” currently on the market.  Where possible items are repaired, recycled or repurposed to insure that the most use is made of all the resources that have went into making a product.  I recently had three blankets repaired so that we could continue using them.  There were some holes, and the trim was beginning to or had already freed itself from the blankets.  We could have simply purchased new blankets; however these items had served us well over the years and with these repairs will serve us for many years to come.  Engaging the services of a local person for the repairs also helped sustain a local business and the community.
We can begin by making thoughtful choices; choices that support sustainability.

My number one sustainable action for 2012 is saying no to Polystyrene, better known as Styrofoam.  This is an item that can be challenging to eliminate from ones life.  I do know that it is doable.  So this means I must be prepared to shop somewhere that offers an alternative, be prepared to pay more for an alternative, (if needing items for a picnic, function, etc.) and be prepared to walk away without a desired product if it can only be purchased with the Polystyrene (Styrofoam).  I know I can purchase take-out without this material and even manage to make my meat purchases (means going to a butcher or meat counter and asking for butcher paper) without Styrofoam.  The challenge this year will be to get by business suppliers to accommodate my wishes.  I know customer service is top priority for business, and they will do what they can do support my wishes and to support a healthy planet.

Why not Polystyrene?  This is a product that in the majority of cases goes from table to garbage to landfill.  For more information about this substance visit

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