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E-M:/ RE: / Possible Cultural Roots that make it difficult to reduce over-consumption?



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Enviro-Mich message from "harrisc" <Craig.Harris@ssc.msu.edu>
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it occurs to me that one way to counter the assumption and develop awareness
would be to teach u.s. history better . . . 
if the history of westward expansion and the globalization that followed the
closing of the frontier could be taught in ways that emphasized the costs to
indigenous peoples and their natural capital, perhaps then u.s. consumers at
least would realize that u.s. growth has always been paid for by the costs
of reduced well-being borne by people in other nations and societies . . .
it is my sense that these things are not, in general, currently covered as
part of the teaching of u.s. history . . . 
cheers,
craig 

craig k harris
department of sociology
michigan agricultural experiment station
national food safety and toxicology center
institute for food and agricultural standards
michigan state university
http://www.msu.edu/~harrisc/ 


-----Original Message-----
From: owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
[mailto:owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net] On Behalf Of Eric Sun
Sent: Wednesday, March 22, 2006 1:38 PM
To: enviro Mich
Subject: E-M:/ Possible Cultural Roots that make it difficult to reduce
over-consumption?

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Enviro-Mich message from Eric Sun <esun.mba2001@ivey.ca>
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I cannot help but think that one aspect of the "There's always more
resources" assumption that makes us think that we can consume more lies in
the history of the westward expansion from the 13 original states.
 Too crowded in New York or Philly? "Go west, young man!" to greener
pastures and a new life.  Over time, the lack of pressure to change habits
because one could easily exploit virgin territory a short walk away might
have enshrined this attititude that assumed there was plentiful resources at
one's beck and call.

How can we counter this "Assumption of Plenty" and replace it with the
awarenss of a "Myth of Plenty"
since cirsumstances have changed (i.e., we cannot expand west anymore...),
when the former is so ingrained in the American psyche, perhaps on an
unspoken level?

While the environmental footprint illustrates conceptually a person's impact
on their surroundings, how can we demonstrate this in tangible, experiential
ways that capture the attention and imagination of men and women without
alienating them?

Eric Sun

Sidebar: 
In this way the movie "Independence Day" was an environmental movie with the
over-consumptive aliens the evil force to be fought against....

--- Roger Kuhlman <rokuhlman@yahoo.com> wrote:

> 
> Of course environmental problems in the United States are due to both 
> over-consumption and over-population.
> Reducing over-consumption to sustainable levels is an extremely 
> difficult problem. America has never voluntarily reduced its 
> consumption in its history and the cuts in consumption required to get 
> to sustainable levels would be massive. Just try telling people that 
> their standard of living must drop steeply. They just will not do it.
> 
> On the other hand since population growth in America is 90% caused by 
> excessive immigration, it can be controlled. First you stop illegal 
> immigration entirely and then reduce legal immigration to low
> pre-1965 levels of 100,000 per year. With low native birthrates, the 
> population will then stabilize on its own. Long-term you plan national 
> population policy to aim at lower human numbers in the more distant 
> future
> (75 to 150 years out). With a smaller population base to support, 
> controls on consumption become less problematic.
> 
> Roger Kuhlman
> Ann Arbor, Michigan
> 
> --- William Tobler <williamtobler@critterswoods.org>
> wrote:
> 
> > Of course it is both.
> > 
> > Do you really think that you are going to get Joe Public to cut his 
> > consumption to a significant percentage?
> > Do you really think that this is a solution other than a short delay 
> > of the inevitable?
> >   ----- Original Message ----- 
> >   From: Jan O'Connell 
> >   To: TANYA J CABALA ; John Rohe ; Lowell Prag ; enviro Mich
> >   Sent: Saturday, March 18, 2006 10:01 PM
> >   Subject: Re: E-M:/ Re: Roger Kuhlman's pet peeve ...
> > 
> > 
> >   I can certainly concur with Tanya here.   The
> > problem with the United States, I would say is
> more
> > with
> >   consumption rather than population.   I believe
> we
> > have 4-5% of the world's population here in the
> U.S.
> > 
> >   and consume 24% of the world's energy.
> > 
> >   Jan O'Connell 
> >     ----- Original Message ----- 
> >     From: TANYA J CABALA 
> >     To: John Rohe ; Lowell Prag ; enviro Mich 
> >     Sent: Saturday, March 18, 2006 5:03 PM
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> > 
> >     I still believe that we need to look at population more from a 
> > global
> >     perspective, than strictly from our own country's perspective.  
> > It's the
> >     planet that has the overpopulation problem,
> not
> > just the United States.  If
> >     we were truly serious about world overpopulation, we would be 
> > focusing our
> >     efforts at improving our policies relating to contraceptives in 
> > developing
> >     countries and greatly increasing the ability
> of
> > women everywhere to take
> >     control of their reproductive rates.    The
> > majority of women in the United
> >     States have that control in the United States and I believe that 
> > is the
> >     reason our birth rates have decreased.
> > 
> >     Tanya Cabala
> > 
> >     -----Original Message-----

> >    
> >
>
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >     Enviro-Mich message from "John Rohe"
> > <john@rohemail.com>
> >    

> > 
> >     Lowell Prag asks Roger Kuhlman: Is it
> necessary
> > to keep posting your
> >     predictions on population, as an appendage to other peoples 
> > postings not
> >     directly a thread related to your pet peeve?
> It
> > is really getting tiresome.
> > 
> >     Lowell, As a citizen with a concern over our legacy, I wonder 
> > whether you
> >     might be willing to dignify Kuhlman's pet
> peeve
> > with your input on the
> >     optimum level of immigration for a sub-replacement level 
> > fertility nation,
> >     like the United States. You might prefer to ignore Kuhlman's pet 
> > peeve, but
> >     the issue will not ignore you. We inhabit a planet having a net 
> > gain of over
> >     200,000 every day (yes, that's births minus deaths, daily). What 
> > is the best
> >     level of immigration for the nation today? Or, do you suggest 
> > that we just
> >     ignore the issue and let the foot traffic at
> the
> > border determine this vital
> >     issue for your children? John Rohe

Eric Sun
c: 416.832.1594
e: esun.mba2001@ivey.ca

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ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at
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Postings to:  enviro-mich@great-lakes.net      For info, send email to
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