Eyes Wide Open – Fourth Installment – The American Dream?

What is the American Dream?  Thomas Jefferson took the phrase “pursuit of happiness” from Locke and incorporated it into his famous statement of a peoples’ inalienable right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” in the Declaration of Independence.

I think we would all agree with this.  And we certainly see places on earth where this is far from their reality.  Let’s face it… in most cases we Americans live this dream.  In fact, we give our lives to preserve these inalienable rights.  Sure, I know there are exceptions, but work with me.

Nowhere in this document is the personal accountability to making us all happy. In fact, many of whom travel to impoverished countries find people there who are as happy or happier than we are.  They value the simple pleasures of family and friendships.

It is ironic and troubling that our children these days are less happy than we were.  You read that correctly.  All the studies point to that.  And, that dissatisfaction is the root of much of the woke nonsense we all hear about.  Consider this:

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal about how millennials are out of touch with reality: “What you’ve forgotten, however, is that it’s up to each generation to make its own mark. Defining yourself by your resentment of an earlier generation isn’t how to do it.”

We have given our children the best and this is how they repay us?  It is ironic that this same generation’s progressive ideas seem to be aligned with reducing carbon dioxide emissions, but they are also the least informed about how to live responsibly and sustainably.  Worst of all, they have largely lost their respect for their elders.

How did all this happen and so quickly?  It all seems to be the result of the hijacking of our education system by liberal zealots and the insatiable desire of the media to focus on the small things that go wrong in society rather than the more general beauty of American people.

So, we focus on reproductive rights rather than how to raise children to be responsible members of society which of course also includes their accountability to consider having their own children.  The American Dream does not include fathering dozens of children with a handful of women who view giving birth as an economic securitization of their lives.

We each have a part to play in this reeducation of Americans.  We all have responsibilities and roles to play in protecting each other.  It is not about my personal happiness measured by accumulation of prestige and wealth.  It is about the wellness of our communities and the celebration of simple pleasures.

We must curb our desires for things, or we will have to curb the number of people who can express their dreams this way.

Eyes Wide Open – Third Installment – Do we Need Garbage Police?

My brother lived in Australia on assignment with Exxon.  He loved it there and would tell me often about how much he liked the simpler lifestyles.  They had a small fridge that would only hold a day or so’s food, so they shopped almost every day picking up something for dinner and to replace vegetables and bread.

He also told me of the garbage collection there.  If you fail to recycle correctly, they give you a warning, and if you persist they stop picking up your garbage.  That will teach you!

We see recycle bins everywhere these days, but how much do they really get used.  Plus, even if that trash gets recycled to the collection center, how much actually is recycled into other things?

According to the EPA, Americans generate more than 267 million tons of solid waste every year. In 2017, only 94.2 million tons of that waste was either recycled or composted. That’s only about 35 percent of the total amount, and when you take into account that only 8 percent of discarded plastics were recycled that year, things start to look more unsettling.

Clearly, we have a long way to go.  But, once again, are we asking the right questions?

Did you know that bottled water ranked as the largest beverage category by volume in the United States?  The sustained growth in per capita consumption indicates that consumers see bottled water as a healthy alternative to other packaged beverages. In 2019, per capita of bottled water consumption approached 44 gallons in 2019, while average intake of carbonated soft drinks dipped below 37 gallons.

You no doubt know that bottled water is not any healthier than the water you get from your tap.  You also probably have seen customers in your market and especially at Sam’s leave with cases and cases of bottled water.

It also seems terribly ironic to me to see cases of bottled water sitting outside in the sun at gas stations.  We all know that the chemicals in those plastic bottles is leaching out into the water.

What is my point in all this?  Our drinking water in this country is excellent … in the vast majority of cases.  Stop drinking bottled water!  Not because of the water itself, but because of the waste you are producing.  It is not being recycled.

I hope you have been following the circularity movement.  They are focused on our food and water supply and working with large corporations to reduce waste associated with food packaging as well as the end-to-end food sustainability questions we all face.

There is a lot going on in this space, but I fear most of it is the same kind of greenwashing the movie Planet of the Humans talks about.