Going up?

There’s a serious lack of balance when it comes to consumerism these days, and that’s putting it mildly. From milk to bread, gasoline, cable television to the occasional cinematic outing, everything under the sun – as far as cost is concerned – is now on board an out-of-control rollercoaster, elevator, escalator or similar conveyance that, unfortunately, only goes up.

As a student, I was a mediocre economist at best. Let’s be honest, economy class had little chance (actually no chance at all) in the face of guitar, guitar and well, more guitar throughout my senior year of high school. But I did, and still do, understand the concept of supply and demand.

And that’s a big part of our problem at this point, worldwide. Hypothetically speaking, when, if ever, will supply truly outweigh demand as our population continues to grow, resources continue to dwindle and more and more people cease to care one way or the other?

These are tough questions, with even tougher answers awaiting us prior to an outcome we can neither imagine nor comprehend, in my opinion.

Collectively, we’re much like a young child who simply can’t understand why mom and dad can’t afford to buy a toy every time we visit the local department store, can’t swing that “name-brand” half-gallon of ice cream or fund a weekly trip to the nearest fast-food joint. It’s as if we feel entitled to, well, whatever we happen to want, whenever we happen to want it.

I hate to break it to you, but that type of attitude is getting us nowhere, and fast. Not to mention the fact that it’s a decidedly dangerous outlook in the long run.

Face it, we’re running out of a lot of things these days, from clean air and water to affordable gas, groceries, shelter and clothing. It all costs more, even as, as a majority, we bring in less and less.

When you think about it, it wasn’t all that long ago that a gallon of gas went for less than a buck. In fact, I can remember paying 99 cents just over a decade ago while living in northern Vermont. Now we’re being told to expect the price of gas to soar as high as $5 per gallon this summer. So much for that vacation up north, I guess.

And don’t get me started on the absolutely depressing experience that is the grocery store these days. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even bother looking at an item’s price or searching for that elusive “bargain buy.”

Why bother? No matter what I happen to be shopping for nowadays, I can practically guarantee it’s going to be more expensive than I’d expected. Sadly, that’s just how it is.

As for clean air and water, well, let’s just say I shudder every time I hear someone casually throw out there, “Hey, it’s free, isn’t it?”

No, I’m sorry to say, it isn’t.

It’s far too easy to ignore the enormous responsibility that comes with our habitation of this planet. One which we’ve failed, miserably I might add, to live up to. Just hop on the old laptop and do a quick Google search for “smog images” and then try to tell me we’re not causing irreparable harm to our planet.

Which is why, since the debate first began, I’ve had a tendency to side with environmentalists when it comes to pollution, climate change, sustainability, green energy and yes, drilling for oil and natural gas.

I’m reminded of that old saying, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Ever hear that one?

Even as the cost of all these things we find so “vital” to our way of life continues to skyrocket, from a pair of blue jeans to a gallon of “all natural spring water,” I think we’re in for a big surprise in the near future if we don’t take some time to seriously re-examine our role here on Earth.

Here’s another saying I ran across the other day, spoken by renowned orator and diplomat Abba Eban, which sums my thoughts up nicely.

“History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other resources.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Follow me on Twitter ... @evesunbrian.

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