I find the influence of visual media quite fascinating. Internet, television, magazines, signage, and photographs from vendors, family, and friends all have an impact on the 55% percent of people who are visually dominant. One planned agenda of this visual overload is to influence how we consume everything from toothpaste to the purchase of a new vehicle.

I remember toothpaste ads on television from the 1960s where this S-curve shaped glob of toothpaste on the toothbrush was the same size as the bristles on its tip. In reality, you only need about as much as a baby aspirin.  This is a rather obvious attempt by the toothpaste makers to get us to use more of their product and use it up quickly for a return to the store to buy more. Shaving cream commercials during that same era showed almost as much shaving cream as a baseball when only an ounce was needed. 

If you have read Tony Hillerman books, you will be reminded that on the Navajo reservation water has to be trucked in, which creates a very different attitude about that necessary resource. In one scene a young man is rinsing out a cup, and rather than pouring it down the drain, he drinks the rinse water.  There are many places in the world where there is no fresh water.  People who must carry their water in buckets, sometimes for miles, regard it as more valuable than food.

Here is a different way to look at what we use. Some resources, like tap water in our homes, may appear abundant but that doesn’t mean that we should use as much as we can. When we overuse what is available to us, it can strain the commodity’s source. As we all know, when demand is higher than supply the price goes up. It may not seem much to you and me but people on a modest income can be impacted by the need to buy at a higher cost.  Additional difficulties of this type include rolling blackouts, hoarding in a crisis, and gas rationing.

Just for one day, think about the things you use. Consider how much water it takes to brush your teeth with the water running. If you are gone from your home all day at work, and don’t have pets, consider turning the air conditioning and heating off. Try to combine outings in your car by planning events and errands that are near each other and reduce the number of trips.  Use a grocery list to save that second visit to the store and take the recipe with you perhaps by photographing it with your phone. You get the idea.  We all benefit by using just enough and no more.

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