We live in a privileged society. We have access to every tangible necessity imaginable as well as many auxiliary items. So why do we always want more? One sees this need for quantity in everything we do: in the food portions in restaurants, in the amount of clothes in one’s closets, in the amount of space that one live in. Are we blind to the 3.1 million children who die of hunger each year? To the 578,424 homeless people in the U.S. alone? Or are we just too self-centered to care about about anyone other than ourselves?
Yesterday a girl told me, “You know, I think I need a new rug. The one I have is almost five years old!” She spoke as if five years was eternity, as if she did something remarkable. She didn’t. I have seen that girl’s room: the plush pillows, the flat-screened TV, the walk-in closet holding copious amount of clothing, most of which I have never seen her wear. “Do you know what people would give just to sleep on that rug?” I asked her critically. “That’s why I’m giving it to Goodwill!” “There’s not many starving people in Seattle.” She cheerily solved that problem with: “Well, buying a new one will give them money, because they probably work in those factories they’re made in.” “Do you mean the sweatshops?” She stopped talking. At least she had enough common sense to know that she couldn’t glorify sweatshops.
Today, what we need first is acceptance. Acceptance that our need for quantity is an illusion. Then, we need awareness. Awareness of the landfills we are producing, of the difference between necessary and unnecessary. Together we can change this standard of constant, nagging dissatisfaction with our lives, however small. By realizing ‘new’ isn’t always as important as frugality we can quench this unquenchable thirst. But I can’t change a person’s mind; only that person can do that. People have to find their own motivation behind their actions and only then will they realize that they can change their lives, and that we're can change the world.