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Opinion

Consumption’s the problem, not population

It’s problematic for me to have brought 6 children into the world while at the same time claiming to be an environmentalist. But our world has a consumption problem, not a population problem.

A couple of years ago, the City of Lethbridge was experiencing some issues with the municipal water supply and were asking residents to voluntarily conserve water.

One day, they posted an info graphic with several conservation ideas. One of them was putting off doing laundry for a day.

I commented with,

“A day off laundry? I normally have 4–6 loads per day, and we’re doing only 1–2, and that’s late at night when water demand is low. Our laundry is piling up.”

Someone else commented in reply to me:

“4-6 loads per day…..???? ..not only are people like you part of the the problem people like you ARE the problem….”

Yeah, I get it. It’s problematic for me to have brought 6 children into the world while at the same time claiming to be an environmentalist. But our world has a consumption problem, not a population problem. And I’m not a typical consumer.

Here was my response:

“Ha ha! I’m part of the problem with my single vehicle, my tankless water heater, my energy efficient appliances, my low flow dual flush toilet, my composting, my recycling, my three bags of garbage every two weeks, my thrift store shopping, my cloth diapers, my clothesline 10 months of the year, my lack of air conditioning, my never watering my lawn, my vegetarian diet, and my 798 sq ft house. Yeah, I’m part of the problem with all my waste.”

Needless to say, I never saw a response.

There are far smaller families than ours who produce way more waste and consume way more resources than we do.

If each of us spent more time policing our own consumption habits instead of others’, maybe we’d be in a better place.

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By Kim Siever

I live in Lethbridge with my spouse and 5 of our 6 children. I’m a writer, focusing on political news, social issues, and the occasional poem. My politics are radically left. I recently finished writing a book debunking several capitalism myths. My newest book writing project is on the labour history of Lethbridge.

I’m also dichotomally Mormon. And I’m a functional vegetarian: I have a blog post about that somewhere around here. My pronouns are he/him, and I’m queer.

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