Abundance must surely be a human right …

Abundance

It is fantastic how much change we can easily accept – “As long as it does not affect me”…

Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.

Mark Twain

Once we have acquired a habit, regardless if it is a “good one” or a “bad one” it becomes almost as an incurable decease or an addiction… and like most addicts we are likely to fight any attempt to remove or change that habit.

Let’s take a look at one of our addictions, in the “rich parts” of the world – “Abundance

Ever since we heard about the cornucopia of children’s fairy tales, it seems that humanity has decided to make the fairy tale come true – that is, the rich part of humanity have decided to…

Toy – abundance…

“…He was a very awaited and loved child, which led to the fact that already before reaching the age of Two, he was the owner of close to 1,000 different items, mainly toys…”

Abundance-9This is not from a fairy-tale, it is a reflection of a “not uncommon” situation in many of the “rich” countries in the world.

Already from a very early age we “flood” children’s lives with an abundance of things – the more the merries…
It is almost as if we really want to make sure that, when growing up, our kids should become “good, high consuming. stuff-gathering citizens”.
It is also as if we believe that only by having an abundance, kids will understand how much we love them…

…and while we are “at it” we grab the opportunity to take some pictures and broadcast them via Instagram, Facebook or some other social media, telling as many as possible that our child is soo loved – just look at the abundance of stuff we have bought him/her…

Have we, in fact replaced the capacity to show love with the ability to purchase stuff…?
Is this a skill we really want our children to emulate and carry on to future generations…?

The Refrigerator-abundance…

Recently I had to replace our 20 year old refrigerator and fridge – I bought a set of A++ classified units with a total storage capacity of 583 Litre (20,57 ft3) and a total energy consumption of 346 kWh/year. The capacity being a little less than the old one, but energy performance significantly better.

Coincidentally, immediately after “the replacement” I happened to come across an interesting TED-talk on innovative design and systems by sustainability strategist Leyla Acaroglu, where she addresses increasing refrigerator sizes, among other topics. (Link)

RefrigeratorTriggered by the TED-talk I had to check if there were any differences between the refrigerator-set I bought and the typical UK/US unit, so I checked a unit similar to the one featured in the TED-talk – turned out it had a capacity of 849 Litre (30 ft3) and a total energy consumption of 745 kWh/year (EnergyStar-classified)

I consider our family of four as being quite normal (living in the “rich” part of the world) when it comes to grocery shopping, maybe we avoid “semi-manufactured” and prepare our food a little more from basic fresh products then the average family but otherwise quite normal. We usually go shopping once a week and have never been lacking storage capacity, not even around holidays, or when relatives and friends come to visit, so I don’t get it – why should a family living in UK/US need 50% more capacity and use 115% more energy…

It is almost as if the appliance manufacturers and grocery stores now are trying to convince consumers that it’s not good enough that they have an abundance of products in the store, it should be in your refrigerator – only by having the abundance right at your fingertips the true “freedom of choice” is fulfilled…

…and of course, if they can sell you larger quantities and bigger packages, regardless if you need it or not, their profits go up – does this also mean that part of their share of the incredible 40% of all produced food in the world that is wasted, instead is transferred to the consumers , and wasted by us… but only after storing it for a while in our “Ultra High Capacity”, biggest on the market, fridge…!

Open the wallet

Do you know what the first section when entering a supermarket, a department-store or any store for that matter is called in retail-language – “Open the wallet”…

Abundance-2Behavioural studies have shown that; if you only can get a visitor to put one item into his/her shopping-cart they become customers and are very likely to continue filling their cart… Somehow we start to think; – Well, now I have one item in my cart, which means I have to stand in line at the cashier, so I might as well get some more stuff while I’m at it…

Once you have “opened the wallet” and by show-casing you an abundance of products, studies show that you are then also likely to buy more than you actually need. Equally, the longer a store or a mall can keep you at its premises the more likely it is that you are “converted” to a customer, which of course is a primary goal.

visitor-counterNext time you enter a mall or a big-box retailer – check over the entrance for the “visitor-counter unit”, a beam equipped with a “Doppler-radar” unit sending the store the exact number of entering visitors. Compared with the number of customers registered at the cashier this automatically computes accurate “visitor to customer conversion rates”… and never forget that a store or a mall is primarily not for your amusement – it is a sophisticated “selling-machine”!

…but all this is easily hidden behind an abundance of merchandise resembling the Cornucopia from your childhood fairy-tales…

Low cost Air-travel – abundance

During the last couple of decades or so low cost air-travel have become part of the abundance, and consumers, have been convinced, by repeated discounting, that cheap travel is now a right – not a privilege.

Green AirplanesAnd, referring to a previous article;
“Somehow the airline industry seems to have got it wrong, claiming that Globalisation is what drives the need of flying while never having even considered that continuously lowering air-fares and promoting deceptive fuel efficiency per passenger data could be one major driver of increasing Globalisation…”

But maybe I have got it all wrong, maybe adding 27,000,000 airplane-rides (+5%) every year to the 538,000,000 international airplane-rides made for leisure purposes only in 2012 (1,035,000,000 including business travel and 3,000,000,000 including domestic flights) is not to be regarded as an abundance – at least the Airline industry don’t want us to look at it in that way, especially not if sustainability and emissions are on the agenda.

… look at the almost “exploding” number of tourist-travels – is that only because people all of a sudden have become so much more curious about other places or is it because so many more can afford to travel…

One planet versus abundance…??

In the early days of humanity resources on this planet where abundant, and for thousands of years it carried on being so, but then some few decades ago population growth really took off and latest reports from the UN is that we around 2030 will be more than 9 Billion people on this planet – people are becoming abundant…

Worldpopulation

Check the latest birth rate and a variety of population data here!

…An abundance of people craving an abundant life-style in a finite environment – it doesn’t take a scientist or a Nobel-laureate to connect the dots and detect that there is a problem…

And it’s even worse – it is the abundant lifestyle and excessive consumption by a fairly limited portion of the current world population over a few decades that has brought us to the critical tipping-point we are at…

We are already at the boundaries of our planets capacity, in some aspects we are probably already “beyond” – continued or even increased abuse will not solve the situation…