Friday, August 8, 2008

The Left and Right: Same Goals Different Views

There's a strange co-mingling of ideas coming from the far right and the left and landing squarely all over America. The other day I saw an add on TV talking about rampant consumerism and how it is bad for everyone. It wasn't an anti-consumerist or environmental group flipping the bill for the add, it was a Southern Baptist Church. Now the probable reason for the church running the add is that they would rather see you donate your dwindling funds to the church (the recession has to be hurting them too) instead of buying that new pair of pants, but the message is still the same. In these hard economic times it appears as if America is awakening from a long slumber of 30 years and discovering something new. We don't have to buy everything we can get our hands on to be happy, family and community is more rewarding than a big screen TV. If we do buy everything within our reach, we're starting to realize that it isn't necessarily a sustainable practice and one day we may actually run out of the core stuff needed to make a bunch of not only useless stuff, but much needed stuff as well.

Not only can you see a convergence in thought when it comes to the lack of need in consuming large amounts of goods, but you may also see an amazing coming together in the areas of fossil fuels and the need for alternative energy as well. As fuel prices go up we see people ditching their SUVs and Trucks at an increasing rate. The losses posted by the U.S. auto manufacturers is proof as they are finding it hard selling their large inventories of gas guzzling behemoths. The message that our dependency on oil is not only funding terrorists, but is putting us at risk as the wells start to dry up. Not to mention, all that carbon spewing into the atmosphere is not all that great for us all either. People are buying more fuel efficient vehicles now just as they did in the 70's. The difference now is that we have technologies that are better and even more capable of delivering us from the dark ages of moving material around and putting us into a brighter cleaner future. In the green movement of the seventies, people had to give up their lifestyles in order to be truly green. Now with technology it is an easier and more logical move to change a few habits and a few light bulbs to save your self some money while inadvertently changing the world.

We have oil men (T. Boone Pickens) putting up wind mills and Southern Baptist Churches advertising the woes of unchained consumerism. We have retailers (Wal-Mart) and suppliers (Milk Produces and Toy Companies) changing packaging and their core products to reduce waste while still delivering low cost products. It is a changing world and the converts are growing at an alarming rate. It is highly possible that we are truly awakening into a new age where we think before we purchase and want to live less wasteful and more fulfilling lives. It will be nice to see further adoption of sustainable ideas by various groups regardless of their ultimate reasons. As long as we all see the same thing regardless of point of view and are willing to tackle it, then we will all benefit and be a stronger nation and world because of it.

The terrorists may have inadvertently created a stronger America. We now have a common direction that is driven mainly by the desire to drop the oil and the need to save money. Our incompetent president may have inadvertently set us up for success through recession. Without the high prices of gas and the dire economy, people may not be so willing to embrace more sustainable lives. Even though the left and the right are obviously charged and at opposite ends of the spectrum at the moment, they may actually have more in common than they think. The things they have in common are beautiful and is something that our nation should latch on to and use to keep us moving forward into the future. Reducing our need for oil will make us stronger and less resistant to foreign control. Our reduction of waste will change the way less wasteful countries see us. Sustainable energy and sustainable communities will give us stronger brighter futures and make us a healthier happier nation.

Talk to your friends and neighbors and discuss ideas on how to save money. Chances are, by saving money, you are also saving valuable resources that our country can use to propel us into the future. If we all started talking about saving money and coupled that with saving the planet we could find common grounds that will bring about the goals of everyone (except for the terrorists).