January 17, 2014

We Are More Than Consumers

Are we acting as destroyers of the Earth?  Photo credit: Chris Jordan
It is easy being a consumer, as unflattering as that designation is, since we have made spending money and buying things as painless and enjoyable as possible. By contrast, acting as a citizen takes some doing.

Being only a consumer is not enough - we have an innate desire to be more than a passive vessel ready to receive an overabundance of stuff. If we can't fulfill our role as citizens, things begin to break down, including our own mental health.

consumer noun \kənˈsjuːmer\

: one that destroys, exhausts, annihilates
: one that devours, finishes, squanders
: one that devastates, depletes, overwhelms
: one that wastes

Desirable Qualities of a Consumer

1. A strong desire to shop, buy, and acquire.

cit·i·zen noun \ˈsi-tə-zən\

: a person that acts as a responsible member of a community

Desirable Qualities of a Citizen

1. Be of sound health.

2. Be an intelligent life-long learner.

3. Have self control and self confidence.

4. Show a positive public spirit.

5. Able to endure self-sacrifice for the good of the whole.

6. Take the right and responsibility to vote seriously.

7. Participate wholeheartedly.

8. Be loyal to the community.

No wonder citizenship has gone out of favour in recent years. On paper it does not look like as much fun as our role as consumers.

Often it is not fun being a citizen - it is mostly a lot of hard work and compromise. But the payoffs of putting in the effort to be more than a consumer are endless. Citizenship is the glue that binds our communities together.

We must rise above being destroyers of the earth and acknowledge the responsibilities we have to each other and the planet as global citizens.

We must be more than consumers if we are to save ourselves.

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