I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, as they have taken on the same mythic quality as Santa and the Easter Bunny. This is not to say I haven’t made resolutions in the past. I have, and have broken every one of them. After awhile I abandoned this annual exercise in artifice deciding instead to work continuously on achieving a life of voluntary simplicity and reducing my physical impact on the planet.
Carbon footprints are just the beginning of understanding. Have you ever wondered what your personal ecological footprint was? If size truly does matter, reason follows the smaller the impact the greater the good, ecologically speaking that is.
The 20th century mindset of greed is good, growth is god and gold is gravitas has failed on numerous levels. Now is the time to redesign the way we live, and realign our relationship with the planet that sustains humanity.
Economics are similar to ecology, as both deal with finite resources and market-driven forces. Building up a huge deficit to support current lifestyles has proven to be unsustainable. Our current economic predicament is merely a reflection of the ecological disconnect that has driven our culture for the past century.
The economic recession of 2008 will morph into a full-blown depression due to the fact global bureaucracies have completely embraced consumptive capitalism while actively seeking to discourage more benign paradigms of existence.
Do I believe the federal government will be able to avert a disaster 70 years in the making? Absolutely not. That nothing was learned from the Great Depression of 1933 is evidence enough. The real question is how to best prepare for a decade of economic hardships while adapting to rapidly changing global conditions.
Going deeper into debt is not the answer.
Taking my own advice, I have retired my only credit card. Cash in hand is the new rule. As for savings, that will have to wait until I pay off all existing debt. The goal for 2009 is to climb out of the economic hole I have dug for myself. Knowing I am responsible for bailing myself out, the first imperative is not taking on any more water.
This commitment to frugal restraint must be practiced at all levels, and not just personal spending. City and state leaders must also adopt the cash in hand philosophy. After all, what good does it do for private citizens to put their economic house in order when state and city governments are spending future finances like drunken sailors?
The year 2009 needs to be a year of frugality, thrift and diminished appetites. Californians need to focus on removing the credit monkey from our collective back. It needs to be a year of living within our means, even if that means sacrificing the comfort and convenience of credit.
Anything else would be unwise and irresponsible.
Filed Under: Observations from the Edge