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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Intervention from Things

Brian and I watched the documentary 180° South last night, in which an avid climber and surfer journeys from the California coast to Chilean Patagonia in the hopes of climbing Cerro Corcovado. As is to be expected, the journey becomes more fulfilling than the destination and the underlying theme of conservation becomes apparent early on. This lesson is especially poignant in areas of South America where the government is to blame for environmental catastrophe. In Chile, the Pinochet government of the 1970’s sold the country’s water rights to private industries, who in turn built damns and factories that have since contaminated the rivers and coastline and threatened the way of life for local farmers, ranchers, and fishermen. The government argues that these “adjustments” (their words, not mine) to the Chilean landscape are necessary for the sake of progress, but it makes me question what progress is really necessary and what crosses the line into parasitic. Case in point (and a fact presented in the film): American video gamers use as much energy in a year as the city of San Diego.

Now, I’m not hating on video games. I was never much a fan, but plenty of my conscientious and community-minded friends (hubs included) enjoy a round of Halo or Gran Turismo after a long day. The fact really made me think of all the shit we have that we don’t need. And then all the shit we still complain about not having. Even when we buy all the crap we claim we need, we're not satisfied or happy. There's always that next new thing that we MUST have. We’re so lost in our consumerist culture that the simple pleasures no longer exist for many people…and I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve found myself to be driven by things a lot more lately than my idealistic college-aged self would have ever allowed. Even as I write this post, I have a browser window open on Okay, and on, too. Damn, I’m in worse shape than I thought.

So I’ve decided to throw myself a good old-fashioned intervention (this is it, by the way…sorry there’s not more pie to go around) and challenge myself to cut back and live with less. It’s definitely a lesson I’d like to share with my son and, while he won’t understand it now, I need to have this lifestyle down before he’s old enough to get it. The true challenge will come when Atticus wants to have the brand-name merchandise and cartoon character crap that all the other kids have…I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. In the mean time, I plan to focus on home-cooked meals, living with the clothes I already have, and spending more time with the TV off.

And, because it’s kind of on topic and funny as hell, I’ll leave you with a clip from Louis C.K.


  1. Nicely put, Megan. We really are ridiculous with our "first world" problems. Let me know if you find the secret to scaling back!

  2. Great post!