Consumerism in America

Alex and I sailed away from the US 11 years ago - amazing. We've been back for short stints to visit family but not for prolonged periods. We've always been amazed at how much things change in a short period of time - cars, tolls, supermarkets, shops, technology all march along at a rapidly increasing pace. But this time, I've been here for three weeks and I've become acutely aware of one major difference since I left - massive consumerism. I didn't think it could get more acute than it was but it certainly has.
The fruit salad display. Lots of packaging. Little work.

I've been amazed by the availability of goods in stores (Wegemans, CVS) and the quantity of stuff people buy. I am also astounded by what people throw away, just because something new becomes available. Yet all profess to be environmentally conscious.

I believe that everyone should be made to live on a boat for at least a month. Once you shlep all the ingredients, discard all the packaging and figure out what to do with the refuse, you take on a different attitude. Water consumption when at anchor teaches you to control your consumption of resources. Power shutdown when the batteries discharge teach energy conservation. And reuse of everything on board for something else stimulates creative thinking instead of sheep herd mentality.

I'm glad to live in a place where the amount of stuff available is not overwhelming.


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