Consumer culture fogs our minds
Monday, November 15, 2010 - 12:39 pm

To the Editor:

“Love it or leave it.” If you think that way about Earth, please read “WorldWatch State of the World 2010” (Norton, 2010). It costs only $19.95, and you can buy it online at, or order it from WorldWatch Institute,1776 Mass Ave. NW, Washington DC 20036. You can find it in several libraries in the North Country too.

Its subtitle, “From consumerism to sustainability,” lays out what has to be done if we’re to keep the world.

By the 1990s, nearly 70% of Americans were aware climate change could be a sickness afflicting the whole earth. Today this percentage has shrunk to 40%. In recent polls, Global Warning came in at the bottom of America’s top concerns.

How come? The sickness has not gone away. In fact it’s going critical. Other countries have started to fight it. Why is it off our radar? Because of a nation-wide 20-year PR brainwashing by big media, pushed by big business. Their profits depend on a whole raft of environmentally harmful products and practices, things we believe we can’t do without.

But Worldwatch shows just how many alternatives to these products and practices there already are out there. We need to learn them. Now.

Global warming really is a sickness afflicting the whole earth. What big business has us believing we’ve got to have -- what we can’t do without -- is doing a number on us.

Now if you’re a True Believer, you might not need Earth. You have Heaven, Paradise, Nirvana.

Big money can also think outside the frame. It’s investing heavily in space, combing it for new worlds to conquer.

But all these heavens and otherworlds: aren’t they drawn on images of Earth? Just ask those astronauts who circled the Moon in 1976 and watched Earth rise: THEY knew. That delicate blue bubble in space was all the home they had, and if they couldn’t reach it they’d die.

And if Earth dies? Then so do we. Think about it. This is not a commercial. It’s an urgent appeal. Big media and big business dismiss global warming. They are lying. They know it.

Belief in the consumer culture has fogged our minds. I read WorldWatch’s facts, strategies and success stories as one sound gust of a wind we desperately need to blow away that fog.

Margaret Weitzmann