Eco-Living Magazine

Connecting the Dots

Posted on the 30 August 2013 by 2ndgreenrevolution @2ndgreenrev

I have been having a hard time understanding why Americans became such consumers.  I understand that we have more money to spend (as a whole) but it still didn’t quite add up to me.  I was recently reading a fiction book that was partially based on real events, and it took place during the 1930s to 1950s.  The book made it click for me on why we are consumers to this level.

Not only did most of the U.S. go through a depression in the 1930s but the a good portion of the 1940s was dedicated to war efforts.  This meant that everyone was giving up common items to send overseas.  Women that previously weren’t working had to, taxes were higher to pay for the war, and gas and tires were rationed to the point that many Americans did not use their cars during the war.  Other rationed items included: coffee, sugar, clothes, meat, cheese, canned goods, etc.  One thing that wasn’t rationed was fresh fruits and vegetables since they were perishable and could not be used on the war front.  This was also from the many freedom gardens that popped up.

So after close to two decades of living on less the American people must have been so happy to get back to consuming, but we took it too far.  They were also getting paid well and these great inventions were coming about, such as the refrigerator and microwave. People not only had new things to buy but had the means to buy them.  The baby boomers came next.  Which as much as you try, children always make you consume more.

With all these thoughts in mind it suddenly made sense how we become such massive consumers.  It is like we still feel deprived of something or certain generations remember being deprived and have to make up for that feeling.  I wonder when we’ll get away from that and how?  How do you stop consuming?  As much as I try personally to reduce my consumption it is sometimes very hard to do so.  Not just because it takes more thought but because our society just isn’t set up with that in mind.  I know there have been some changes in recent years but we are still so far away from being sustainable that it seems almost unattainable.  But with positive thoughts in mind, I think we can do it.

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