Too much Stuff!
Ever heard of “the materials economy“? Author and activist Annie Leonard breaks it down very clearly in her book and documentary series (the Story of Stuff, http://dev.storyofstuff.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/annie_leonard_footnoted_script.pdf) as what we THINK we already know of the sustainability issue: “extraction to production to distribution to consumption to disposal”.
In fact, according to author Paul Hawkin, in his book Natural Capitalism (1999), p.81, apx 99% of all the product society comes across is TRASHED after 6 months!
Now, of course, that doesn’t just apply to what we BUY,the author here is referring to the whole systemic product lifecyle: extraction, production, packaging, transporation, and selling all that stuff is involved too… so where does my “ownership” of the problem come in?
Well, think for a moment about the fact that the “average American” now consumes twice as much as they did 50 years ago! Why is that? (“Why Consumption Matters” by Betsy Taylor and Dave Tilford,in The Consumer Society Reader Edited by Juliet B Schor andDouglas Holt (2000), p. 467.)
Is this generational, you might ask? My own Grandma used to reference how they were “war babies” and participated in “rationing”, but I was too young to pay attention. Now that she is gone, I wish I could have learned more from her example….
We seem to be losing touch with our connection to what we surround ourselves with and where it comes from. For example: growing up, both my parents and grandparents had a garden. We would supplement our dinner table with fresh greens and fruits. Now, I have to hit the local farmers market, or Sprouts, to have a similar experience for my own children….do they even know how these things are grown?
So, what can we do? Well, everyone loves a party.. and there is one coming up just on this topic! Instead of taking advantage of Black Friday sales, many activists will be taking to the streets this year to bring awareness to the issue in celebration of “BUY NOTHING DAY”
So, this year for Thanksgiving, I plan on making my “vote” count, and “speaking” with my dollars, by staying home with my family and NOT shopping for a while! I hope that this will set an example for my children, that quality of life is not in the goods that you own, but in how you act with the people you surround yourself with.
Activists take to the streets on Black Friday to protest compulsive consumerism!
- Annie Leonard: Don’t Just “Be the Change.” Make Change! (myplasticfreelife.com)
- The Story of Stuff (centerforlivingpeace.wordpress.com)
- The Story of Stuff: An Inspiring Example of A Network in Action (bethkanter.org)
- Individual Actions Just Don’t Add Up to Environmental Change (3eintelligence.wordpress.com)
- Find a happier, more eco-friendly life (noimpactman.typepad.com)
- Recycling: On the curb, out of mind? (metronews.ca)