In my inaugural post, I asked why Pagans aren’t the Leaders of the Environmental Movement. I pointed out some of the reasons Pagans don’t necessarily put into physical practice what their spiritual practice (almost) dictates. Here’s what I wrote in the last post:
I need an SUV because my kids have soccer practice.”
“I can’t grow my own herbs because of the foxes.”
“I color my hair because it represents my inner self.”
“I’m so busy…”
Language is something I want to touch on some more.
It’s a tricky subject because it goes right to the heart of American mores and the sense of entitlement Americans have regarding Mother Earth’s resources. It also cuts right to the heart of the Protestant Work Ethic the mainstay work ethic in the US. Many get very defensive — sometimes offensive! — when the subject comes up.
There is only one person I know who doesn’t have a cellphone. I was one of those who didn’t have one until I finally broke down and got one in 2009. Why did I do so? Loneliness. Yes, really. My house phone rarely rang. My friends would talk about texting but no one seemed able to pick up the phone and call so after years of stubbornly refusing to conform to the (new) norm, I broke down and got a cheap one from Verizon. Now I text like a champ. Facebook, Twitter, friends, and Wolf, texting has come to be my major form of communication. And you know what? I hate it. I would rather talk with someone on the phone, hear their voice, but to do so is so blase, like wearing bell bottoms.
So many of my friends and acquaintances defended their need for a cellphone. There were lots of reasons I heard. The two most popular were
“I need to be able to talk to my kids” and
“My work needs me to have one.”
And this is where the discussion of language comes in. You do not NEED a cellphone. You WANT a cellphone. Your boss WANTS you to have a cellphone. Your kids WANT to conform with their friends and you want to conform to the American norm. WANT is not NEED.
I’m one of those who WANTS a cellphone. I never once said I needed one. I said it this way because language choice was pointed out to me many years ago. Growing up in the US it’s so easy to use WANT and NEED interchangeably in conversation, but the reality is, WANT and NEED are two separate things all together.
After I got the cellphone I started having problems with it. I wasn’t getting messages and the phone wasn’t ringing when people did call (although rarely) so I called Verizon and they replaced the phone with a reconditioned one. The same problem happened with the second phone so Verizon replaced it with another reconditioned one, this time a different model. Both times the new-to-me phone came in the mail at which time I sent back the one I had. Then I didn’t think much about what happened to the phones until I saw something on e-waste. Defined by Wiki as “loosely discarded, surplus, obsolete, or broken electrical or electronic devices”, e-waste is causing major health risks to Mother Earth and all her inhabitants.
But we don’t see e-waste. Why? Because the US ships it to Ghana, Nigeria, India, and China predominately.
So the next time you think you NEED a cellphone or computer upgrade (to the replace the one you got last year), or other household equipment like washing machines, dryers, or microwaves think of what Mother Earth NEEDS and what the inhabitants of Ghana, Nigeria, India, and China NEED. Certainly it’s not e-waste villages WE created in their nations.