Katie K. Michigan

Over Consumption, Waste and Damage to Our Environment

The United States is a wasteful country, arrogant in its consumption. Americans have too much material wealth, waste vital resources and, in the process, damage the environment.

Dear Mr. or Mrs. President,

The United States consumes more than any other country. We use and use and use up while people in other countries struggle daily to feed themselves, die of thirst. What makes us better than them? Why are we allowed to be arrogant and privileged when they aren't? We didn't work for our advantages, we were born into them by chance. We woke up one day and had a roof over our heads and food in the fridge because we happened to wake up in America. It is our duty to share and to plan for a future Earth. To work for even distribution and equality. It could have just as easily been us born into a poor family in the Middle East. The most pressing issues in today's America are over consumption, waste and damage to our environment.

Americans waste resources that would be the deciding factor between life and death for so many. We leave the faucet running and throw away an abundance of food while one in nine people go hungry. This waste is so immense in fact that yearly, America's convenience stores, restaurants and supermarkets throw out about twenty- seven million tons of edible food worth thirty billion dollars. Thirty billion dollars has the potential for so much good. Thirty billion dollars would fund the creation of roughly one thousand freshwater wells in Africa. Twenty seven million tons of food could feed seven hundred thousand people for their entire lifetime.There is no logical reason for this waste. Americans are no more worthy of comfort and privilege than any other human being. We must rethink the way that we refer to our resources. Just because we happened to be lucky does not mean that the rest of the world has life as we do. It has been common to dismiss these issues because perhaps it takes more effort to conserve, is more expensive to cooperate companies. These reasons are unethical and poorly justified. America is a rich nation, we can afford to pay a little extra or take a few extra steps to provide for others. In our history we have taken advantage of so many minority groups that it is our turn to give back, to make right the wrongs done by our ancestors. Possible solutions that are feasible and effective could include recycling water from hand washing into the toilet and giving away unsold food from restaurants. Humanity claims to be ever evolving and entrepreneurial but Americans haven’t evolved effective systems of conservation? This should be embarrassing for the United States, we should be ashamed or our unnecessary wealth.

People in the United States also consume more goods than necessary. We eat way beyond the necessary caloric intake, buy processions then throw them away. Most Americans own dressers, trunks, storage units and closets to store all of our things. How much of this stuff do we actually need? Do you wear everything in your closet? Twenty five percent of people with two-car garages don’t have room to park cars inside them and thirty two percent only have room for one vehicle. This means that Americans have more possessions than they have room to keep while most of the world does without. American girls buy two hundred dollar jeans and most all Americans own a five hundred dollar phone. Our priorities are far from straight. There are people in the world who are starving or freezing to death and we have more material wealth than we know what to do with.

The final problem I will address in modern America is damage to the environment. As of now, humanity resides on only one planet. We have satellite images and accurate maps, all of it is discovered. What you see is what you get. There is no more room for expansion and no more resources than what we see when we look out the window. Why, would anyone in their right mind, damage our Earth? This is the Earth that our children and grandchildren will be born onto. Isn't it our duty to preserve it for them? A constant drain on resources needs to cease. It is necessary to develop alternative ways of creating energy, stop cutting down trees and dumping plastic in the ocean. There is actually a garbage island twice the size of Texas floating in the Pacific Ocean. Why are people not enraged or devastated by this fact? Humanity has a sense of arrogance that we allow to justify a disregard of our actions. Again, we claim to be entrepreneurs but have not developed an environmentally beneficial way of creating our products or disposing of them. I would call this lazy and again, wrong priorities. This issue often gets pushed to the side, especially in the wake of wars and the recent election. Damage to the environment is a somewhat old concern, easily sideswept because its consequences do not effect today. I warn that this problem is not going away. With every day it is ignored, the further the hole we have dug for ourselves deepens. One cannot reverse the effects, only stop them from continuing.

America has many issues, I only argue that over consumption, waste and damage to the environment are the most dire. The consequences of these problems are permanent. Once water is used, it's not coming back. Once a person starves to death, we do not get another chance to save them. As a rich country with privileged people, our main concern should be even distribution and preservation. None of us are better than the other, including you.


A Concerned Citizen

Works Cited

"Hunger Statistics | WFP | United Nations World Food Programme - Fighting Hunger Worldwide." Hunger Statistics | WFP | United Nations World Food Programme - Fighting Hunger Worldwide. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2016. <http://m.wfp.org/hunger/stats>.

"Waste in America: Statistics and Facts on Food & Water." SoundVision.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2016. <http://www.soundvision.com/article/waste-in-america-statistics-and-facts-on-food-water>.

"Digging Wells In Africa: How It Works." The Water Project. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2016. <https://thewaterproject.org/digging-wells-in-africa-and-india-how-it-works>.

"21 Surprising Statistics That Reveal How Much Stuff We Actually Own." Becoming Minimalist. N.p., 12 May 2015. Web. 17 Oct. 2016. <http://www.becomingminimalist.com/clutter-stats/>.

By Estimation 80% of the Plastic Originates from Land; Floating in Rivers to the Ocean or Blew by the Wind into the Ocean. "Facts." Garbage Patch The Great Pacific Garbage Patch and Other Pollution Issues. N.p., 05 July 2016. Web. 30 Oct. 2016. <http://garbagepatch.net/greatpacificoceangarbagepatchfacts/>.

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