Scarcity over abundance – is it worthy?
The majority of us in developing countries have grown up with a sense of the unlimited, don’t worry if it breaks we can just get a new one. And food scarcity, worrying about where the next meal is coming from is unheard of for the privileged.
But severe weather events are a reminder to us of the our vulnerability to scarcity and possibly provide an indication of the future of our children and grand children.
There were many stories from post Hurricane Sandy of six hour queues at petrol stations as people waited in line because they only had a days worth of petrol in the tank. People went without power for weeks and the entrepreneurial or philanthropic setup free phone charging in cafes and on the sidewalks. It changed our sense of unlimitedness, people now had to the make the decision of “shall i listen to this song, or should i save the battery in case a family member needs to contact me in an emergency” was it battery worthy?
The financial crisis has helped us to get in tune with those decisions. As job security becomes less uncertain, the decisions about a new car, an expensive holiday become a lot more considered. Job security and unlimited annual salary increases are a thing of the past, and the decisions we make are now in tune with the limitedness or scarcity of that. Is it worthy of my money or should I save some in case of an emergency?
‘Is it worthy’ is the ethos we should taking with every resource consumption decision we make. Is the use of natural resources, pollution emissions worthy of me buying this gadget!
If we had a limited annual use of electricity we would spend the time to decide if something that uses electricity was worthy or should it be saved for an emergency or when we suddenly use more than we planned to help someone who was sick.
If we had to go out and find, secure and store all our resources that we used in a year and live within those means our decisions would be entirely different.
Maybe if we moved to the point of scarcity as quickly as possible, the fact that we then had to live with scarcity might be the solution we need? Lets tell everyone it’s all running out and there wont be any left in 2 years time and we will all go out and buy it all up – seems to be what happens in the supermarkets in the two days before Christmas.