Sunday, April 25, 2010

(Un)Consumption

The other day, I was catching up on one of my favorite blogs: Fake Plastic Fish . If you've never heard of it... lets just say, "Now you know." :) If you've ever wanted to lessen your plastic consumption... and leave a lighter footprint....this is definitely a blog that you should check out!

Last week, she wrote a blog about "Buying Green vs. Being Green." The blog post is long... but she makes many valid points that I completely agree with. **STOP here and read her blog post:)** It's easy to get caught up in purchasing something new because it's touted as being "green" when we either don't really need it because our "non-green" item works just fine or we could and should be purchasing used anyway. OR maybe something we hadn't even thought of: NOT purchasing at all. Think about what she says,

"What we don't buy and consume is probably more important than what we do."

A point that is made in "The Story of Stuff." Overconsumption whether "green" or not... is overconsumption. In order to move past overconsumption, we have to rethink what we buy, why we buy it, and HOW we buy it. Wow... that's a mouthful.

I know the things that I used to buy a lot of and thinking back.... I had to ask myself:

How many pairs of black pants does a girl really need?? How many times am I really going to watch that movie that I just had to buy?? How many toys do my kids really need??

I do this often and I always find that when I rethink (and rethought) things... I don't need 10 different pairs of pants, I don't need to buy movies because I could rent them, and my kids don't need all of the toys that they want (yes, we've even put a limit--it's 1-- on how many gifts family can buy for each of our kids for birthdays and Christmas).

Before we make a purchase we ALWAYS first see if we can buy the item used. Some places that we check are Ebay, Craig's List, consignment shops, and I'd really like to say we go to garage sales... but I just don't move that early in the morning ;) Another one of our favorite resources is Freecycle. Ok... it's not buying... it's better... it's FREE!!) Last year, my husband built a brick patio and walkway with used bricks he gathered from other "Freecyclers":)

Want to go full-fledged into Unconsumption?? Try one of "No Impact Man's" suggestions and don't buy anything new (besides food) for one month. Here's an idea to help "fill the craving to shop."

"Only when we rethink how and what we value — so that we no longer base well-being and quality of life on excess production, consumption, and wasting — will we truly be able to address global warming and other forms of ecological ruin." -- Green Gone Wrong by Heather Rogers (go check it out at your local library ;))