Tuesday, July 25, 2006


I keep hearing from different sources that there are so many other countries, such as China and India, which are hoping to live the American way of life.

  • Americans constitute 5% of the world's population but consume 24% of the world's energy.
  • Americans eat 815 billion calories of food each day - that's roughly 200 billion more than needed - enough to feed 80 million people.

  • Americans throw out 200,000 tons of edible food daily.

  • There are more shopping malls than high schools.

If these other countries, which have a larger population than the US, do succeed in attaining the US lifestyle, then what will happen to our world?

I think that many others do not understand how unhappy many Americans truly are. There is a pressure to own and accumulate. There is a pressure to look, act, and be a certain way.

Vanuatu Is World's Happiest Country

"People are generally happy here because they are very satisfied with very little," Marke Lowen of Vanuatu Online, the republic's online newspaper told The Guardian.

"This is not a consumer-driven society. Life here is about community and family and goodwill to other people. It's a place where you don't worry too much."

I think that this is what we are missing. We are not a society based around community, family, and goodwill. We seem to be a society based around work, accumulating things, and making our lives appear "perfect" to outsiders. It does not mean that our lives are perfect. On the outside, things may look good, but on the inside we are unhealthy.

Why do people not make changes? Change is hard. I know that if I had not made a few small (and large) changes a few years ago, I would have remained in that cycle of accumulating things and debts.

I remember thinking at one time that if I only had - X - I would be happy. X could have been money or this thing or that. Now that I have been able to sit back and analyze what makes me happy, I know that it has nothing to do with money or things. One of the wonderful things that joining the compact and choosing to live simply has done for me is it has forced me to step away from the cycle of earning and spending and really take a look at what has meaning in my life. It is experiences. It is family. I want to surround myself with family, friends, and community. I want to help others see that life is so much more than things.

Things never did provide me with the fulfillment that I now have.

No comments: