Improve Your Self-Esteem and Save the Planet

Consumption in itself is bad for the planet, no matter how you cut it. Material things are generally made from finite resources (like how oil is made into plastic); so the less we buy the better we treat the planet.

This isn’t hard to do. In fact, it’s easier for people who have high self-esteem. Apprently, some new reseach is out that argues that the more confidence an individual has the less likely it is that they will buy material objects for comfort.

“By the time children reach early adolescence, and experience a decline in self-esteem, the stage is set for the use of material possessions as a coping strategy for feelings of low self-worth,” they write in the study, which will appear in the Journal of Consumer Research.

The paradox that findings such as these bring up, is that consumerism is good for the economy but bad for the individual. In the short run, it’s good for the economy when young people believe they need to buy an entirely new wardrobe every year, for example. But the hidden cost is much higher than the dollar amount. There are costs in happiness when people believe that their value is extrinsic. There are also environmental costs associated with widespread materialism.

I guess this can be further backed up by examples that billionaires don’t like spending their money.

Harper Shuns Democracy, Activists Decide to Cover Costs

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper hates the environment while he continues to stifle democracy in Canada. Clearly, Harper is not good, which begs the question as to why he’s mentioned on a site about good news.

In the context that is Harper’s Canada, activists have to be more creative than usual. The conservatives are stifling debate by not inviting the official opposition to attend the United Nations’ major climate change meeting next month in Bali, Indonesia. As a result, Canadian activists are trying to continue what the current Canadian government dislikes: discussions on climate change. So it is good that the Canadian people actively care about the environment.

A coalition of Canada’s top environmental groups is offering a hand to jilted opposition MPs who want to attend key climate-change talks in Bali, Indonesia.

Environment critics from the three opposition parties were told earlier this week that they would no longer be welcome in the official Canadian delegation attending the United Nations meeting next month.

The government has traditionally allowed opposition MPs, and even non-governmental groups and industry representatives, to tag along to such high-profile summits. The critics were invited to the last major UN climate meeting in Kenya a year ago.

Positive Spin on Negative Food Side Effects

Easting can make you healthier, happier, and sometimes feel not too good. Dumb Little Man has compiled a list of 10 food side effects that you ought to be aware of. Sure, he points out (for the most part) annoying or negative side effects, but by being aware of them we can improve our diets and eat all healthy.

Kidney stones. People whose diets are high in animal protein and low in fiber and fluids may be at higher risk for stones. Several studies have shown that increasing dietary calcium and restricting salt, animal protein, and foods rich in oxalate, such as rhubarb, spinach, cocoa, nuts, pepper, and tea, can help prevent calcium oxalate stones from returning.

Satire Can Help With Icky issues

The CBC has a neat article about the use of satire to deal with complicated issues, primarily armed conflict, and how satire can help us reason through the complexity. A neat way to approach news, that’s for sure.

Indeed, most satires of war don’t lampoon the enemy; rather, the central characters inevitably question their own side. In Catch-22, the Germans — the nominal foe — are barely mentioned; Heller’s true target is the U.S. army apparatus. The point is mordantly demonstrated in the fact that the more missions bomber pilot (and protagonist) John Yossarian flies, the more he has to complete before being allowed to go home. The comic preoccupation of Stanley Kubrick’s classic film Dr. Strangelove (1964) was not the Soviet Union, but the United States’ Cold War paranoia.

WorldDevils Highlights Evil for Good

WorldDevils is a site that aims to bring people’s attention to the wrongdoers on our planet. The site is very young so right now it’s only a predictable list of devils (GW Bush to Carlos Menem). I encourage everyone to sign up and add some lesser-known evil people to see what happens at this site.

How is this site good you ask, well over at Mashable they argue that:

The hope with WorldDevils is to bring awareness to those individuals and entities that are causing harm on a larger level, whether it be socially or politically. The company has indicated that it will be adding a system for curbing the abuse of its system by those out to cause harm on a personal level.

It’s up to you decide if calling people devils increases awareness and will provoke change.

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