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KhiaKarma's avatar

Are you "giving back" at least as much as you "take"?

Asked by KhiaKarma (4328points) February 12th, 2010

I am reading Ishmael, in which it proposes that most modern humans beings are captive to their “taker” society. If it is true that we are captive, is it even possible for us to be able to fully give back? If we keep taking without giving back we will eventually deplete our natural resources which support life as we now know it.

So, are you a minimal strain on earth’s natural resources? How?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ishmael_(novel)

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12 Answers

phil196662's avatar

I have done my best and are always looking to do more. I compost, recycle, sew clothes and buy new less often. Drive a utility truck that has low emissions, our house has solar panels and instead of turning on the heater the wife and I have hot sex to keep warm!

jrpowell's avatar

When you say “natural resources” it impossible to give more than we take. I’m 32 and don’t drive. I recycle. I use my messenger bag instead of paper/plastic when I go to the store. I’m not sure what more I could do.

“So leave your mark on our world by leaving no mark at all.”

lilikoi's avatar

I like to think I am, and could make a long list in support of this, but it is pretty hard to measure.

Seek's avatar

I try to make as little an impact as possible.

I wish my carbon footprint didn’t include so much gas mileage (upwards of 20,000 miles a year), but that’s not something I can change in our present economic state.

phil196662's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr ; but is your car low emission or Ultra-Low? Then your really helping!

marinelife's avatar

I am not balanced in this way.

ubersiren's avatar

I love Ishmael and My Ishmael! Those books struck me in an environmental and political way; My Ishmael more politically.

To answer your question, I try really hard to not make an impact, but I know I do anyway. I try to waste as little as possible, I recycle, try to use only environmentally friendly products, buy local foods in the summer, donate to animal (including human!) causes, etc. I still feel guilty.

I’m not sure it is possible for people who live in “taker” societies to completely give back. For one thing, we’re not truly “allowed” to completely live off the land. All land (at least here, in the US) is owned by the government. There is no foot of space where you would be allowed to just be. You would have to purchase the land and pay taxes of all kinds in order to so much as sleep on the naked ground, let alone build a home there. You would have to make some sort of income to pay these taxes, and the government won’t accept tomatoes from your garden. So you’d have to get a job. And there begins the cycle of impossibility. You can’t dedicate all your time to joining the workforce and have any time left over to tend to living off the land.

Of course there are very clean alternatives to homes, cars, ways of life these days, but according to what standards? I really don’t know the answer to that. I’m willing to bet it’s not comparable to how the bees and beavers live. Nobody can blame us; it’s our culture now. It would take a huge event to be able to remain in our country and choose to live as a “leaver” instead.

Facade's avatar

I doubt it.

Berserker's avatar

Probably not. In my life, I feel like I exist solely to pay for things and absolutely nothing else. In a society where everything is always taken from everyone, I have no real incentive.

But that’s prolly just because I’m lazy and stupid.

KhiaKarma's avatar

@ubersiren Exactly what I was thinking about. We are captive to our culture. How can we give back to the same extent as we consume? Our culture is not set up that way. Unfortunately.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

No. I have been a lifelong recycler and water conservationist but I do drive a car that burns regular gasoline, I still accept plastic bags in the grocery and I am paranoid enough about soil that I don’t even attempt to grow anything. I am a taker, I might take smaller bites than some but I am a taker.

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