Can't Buy Me Love (or a Long Life)

TreeHugger was conceived with the intent of showcasing those cool products and services which could help the hesitant move toward a more sustainable lifestyle, without feeling they'd have to revert to hippydom. But from the outset we were very aware that it is simply not possible to buy a greener life. Money can open up choices, but it cannot be traded for core values or attitudes. And this is one of the determining factors for the dilemma we find ourselves in. We are conditioned by advertising, TV, cinema, and so on, to believe that more stuff will make us blissful. If the glow of owning a new plasma TV wears off, we jet away to the Bahamas, or buy another pair of shoes to fill that gnawing happiness void. (It is the materials extraction, manufacturing, distribution, use and subsequent disposal of all this desired 'stuff' that is at the root of our environment (and social) woes. Yet, while it has been long studied and reported that there is no link between wealth and happiness, we still pursue them. Recent related research now suggests that wealth and longevity are not good travelling buddies either. The US is up the top of list when it comes to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the measure of a country's ability to spend money. But it ranks way down in 30th spot for life expectancy."On average, Chileans can expect to live longer than the average American, even though GDP per person is about a quarter of America's. A Cuban male has a better chance of surviving until 65 than an American male, even though GDP per capita in the US is about eight times Cuba's." And this is also despite the US spending 15% of its GDP on health. Cuba, for, example averages around $623 USD, per person a year, while the US manages $5,711, even though Cuba has the world's highest proportion of doctors, per capita. So ain't it odd that we're raping forests, digging vast holes in the ground, polluting our air and water, etc, so we can chase more 'stuff' that will neither make our lives happier nor longer? Maybe, just maybe, this is a merry-go-round ride from which we need to dismount. ::UN Human Development Report 2006, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.

Tags: Chile | Cuba | United Nations

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