Thursday, May 05, 2005

Should Blacks Conserve or Consume?

Traditional environmentalists push conservation. American capitalism pushes consumption. Blacks were denied access to resources for hundreds of years in America. Should blacks conserve or consume?

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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Should Blacks Conserve or Consume?
It is not so much a question of whether blacks should consume or conserve, it is more a question of whether Blacks can afford to be just consumers. While we have just recently been given some of the priveledges and the responsibilities of being consumers, we would do ourselves an injustice to consume things other than or greater than we have the capacity to produce. Viva la black consumption but first viva la black capitalism in the true sense by the leveraging of black capital in the design, manufacture, and distribution of our own products and services.

David Hahn-Baker said...

This a good qyestion to ask only in that folks will know they are headed toward the right answer when they realize how feeble the question is.

It atrikes me that people should throw off the yoke of being forced into making choices between two items where neither option presents a reasonable answer.

Adopting ONLY conservation as an approach is ultimately a silly thing to do as most of the people do not have the resources and saved assets to pursue the elitist lifestyle of do nothing but conserving.

However, the alternative of devoting choosing a life based on consumption is so wilting to the soul and so destructive of others that it is a worse option than the bad option of pursuit of only conservation.

Instead I endorse do the tough but ultimately more fulfilling course of seeking to strike a balance of pursuing both CONSERVATION AND CONSUMPTION.

The correct question I look for AAEA to address and help me understand are perspectives on the questions of how much is too much and when does approaches to convervation become counter-productive.

These are the tough questions and when AAEA attempts to merely ask silly questions proposing a false choice it is taking the easy way out and not attacking the tough question of how do we intelligently strike a balance between these two extremes.

Anonymous said...

I personally believe that the ultimate solution for African Americans is to conserve since we already know that the environment is having consumptions problems to begin with. Especially from an energy / oil standpoint. While some consumption is essential to our survival, we can make strides to ensure that we do not use it in a wasteful manner.

Some of our ability to make such efforts does, however, ultimately depend on resources available to the Black community. It would be ideal for the Black community to produce just as much as it consumes, but the question of whether or not such a plan could exist is a question of resources (monetarily) within the community itself.

Kelly L. Taylor said...

Supporting green businesses at the local level sounds like a great concept! I'm looking into it more at this and related links:

http://www.coopamerica.org/pubs/greenpages/

Thank you for sharing the info!

If the key is to make smart consumers of our kids, does anyone know of a good school program that focuses on those skills? I can't imagine what kind of SOL credit you could get for it, but ... can the educators out there help me - are we supposed to giving our kids information or teaching them how to effectively use that information (data, or skills)? If I teach my kids to recognize how advertising preys on human weaknesses, should I not also teach them how to avoid falling into the trap?

Kitlat said...

Regarding teaching kids to be more educated consumers, I recall seeing on a program that PBS aired a few years ago called "Affluenza" that there were organizations that taught about money management and budgetting and to stay away from credit cards. They went into schools and taught these classes. I am sure a good google search might locate the organizations.

Regarding the larger question: I don't think that there is a choice. We should practice conservation. We need to recycle, we need to dispose of our waste responsibly. We need to work things like community gardening. We need to take stewardship of our green areas if the city or town officials do not. We need to revisit biking and learning how to save money (thinking long term vs. short term and crisis).
There is nothing wrong with buying nice things. However there is only one earth. P2Ps come and go, once clean water and arable land and trees are gone-they are gone.