Thursday, December 1, 2011

Is Bigger Better?

We live in a country where we love big.

Big trucks. Big boobs. Big houses. Big ideas. Big schemes. If you want to think big, buy an urban assault vehicle (aka Hummer) and toss on some big wheels and get that damn thing jacked UP!

Yet, I can't help wonder where we, the descendants of immigrants, became so caught up with BIG. Is it our ideals are spoon-fed to us by myriads of ads by greedy bankers and over-zealous builders or are we really just the lustful consumers as the world sees us?

How much is too much and when is enough...well, enough.

I remember living in a tiny little house in Lake City with my perfect grandma and gruff grandpa. Our home was huge to my 5-year old ideals. I had a spacious bedroom up a tiny flight of stairs complete with a balcony. There was also a downstairs - you had to go outside to get there -  but it had an entire room for a shower!

Outside was a pond with a waterfall, an attached terraced patio. There seemed plenty of room to me - but of course, I was little and the world was large.

We left that home (my paradise) in 1965 because grandma said, "it's too small."

We moved into a 4-bedroom home in Shoreline. It was bigger; but not by much. Probably came to a staggering 2,000sf. I had two bedrooms to choose from - my uncle had a room, too, but he was hardly ever there. Donning my dress-up clothes, I still missed my Lake City paradise.

Construction has some alarming effects on our environment. 40% of all the raw materials humans consume are used in construction. Half of the copper we mine becomes wire and pipe inside these buildings.

Building an average home adds 7-tons of waste to our landfills (that's 7 tons, okay - 14,000 lbs of waste in an average home build). (source: Worldwatch Paper 124, by D.M. Roodman and N. Lenssen, Worldwatch Inst., Wash. D.C., 1995)

So why so much bigger? When did we see a home as being 3,500 sf and a price tag of $599,000 as normal? When did the 1950s home become unacceptable? Is it to keep up with the Jones'? Is it because of the constant ads on television and magazines telling us this is the new American Way?

My idea of home is: Comfort. Cleanliness. Godliness. Happiness. Love. A warm fireplace. The smell of stews. The crackling of a fireplace. Dancing leaves on a Fall tree or the sunshiny rays of a summers day.

So, if anyone is reading...What is your idea of home? What's your thoughts on home size and why? What do you believe is right for you, for humanity, for our planet, and our children's inheritance of how we leave it behind by the way we live on it now?

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