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Clyde Israel
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Consumerism, wine and the environment

20 July 2013, 10:10

When thinking about environmental issues I am always drawn to economics and how ecosystem services are not factored into the cost of consumer goods.

Why are they not?

The cost of living would be beyond our reach and our current economic system would collapse - this circumstance of realising "externalities" would not work, or so it seems.

  I’m thinking carbon us please.

Now think of the Story Of Stuff by Annie Leonard  - watched by millions (You Tube): it seems that economic models, reliant on obsolescence, poisoning all life, and creating inequality, are also reliant on a weighted equation where "external" costs are largely ignored, at the expense of the layman, a circumstance that “fattens” the corporate giants making slaves of governments and people alike who are then grumpy and compensate by aggressive behaviour, spending ridiculous amounts of money on mechanisms of war (is it 20% or 50% of the budget)...... and so the story goes, happily  ending with images of restfully sleeping on pillow soaked in neurotoxins.  Ooops!

Are our consumer lives, as Annie describes, at the root of environmental challenges?

Are we not slaves to those “fat cats” who create these economic laws by manipulation and bribery -  sorry, lobbying and donations - that enrich themselves while stealing food/money from the 1.3 billion starving people on the planet while driving ethanol (food)  fuelled hybrid cars?

Yes, it would seem we and our governments bow down and polish their shoes while they do it. 

I don’t thinks so.

My point is environmental concerns are born of our economic system and I would like to know more about that: I am standing in a liquor store intent on purchasing a bottle of wine, the selection is mind boggling, I end up with 2 bottles in front of me: the one is run of the mill, mass produced inorganically fertilised monoculture, pesticide and herbicide soaked, wake up in the morning with a headache wine, as it is also full of sulfites – notice on lable; and the other is organically grown with care and sustainable practice. 

Headache wine is R30 and the feel good wine is R200; one guess which one this student buys. 

The answer to this environmental problem is how to work the economic and political system to allow for the feel good stuff to be affordable.

Hopefully, buy the end of my studies I will know how to do this – because I love me some feel good wine

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