Friday, February 1, 2008

It's About the Stuff

Has anyone watched the video at this website: It does take 20 minutes, but it is interesting, educational, and slightly entertaining. The thing that really struck me is that only about 1% of all the stuff we buy is still around 6 months later. So the other 99% percent of the stuff is either in landfills or hopefully being used by someone else through reuse or recycling.

For a long time it seemed that the holy grail of the environmental movement was getting everyone to recycle, but now it doesn't seem to be enough. Remember Reduce, Reuse, Recycle? Even though recycle was the last on the list, it was viewed by many to be the rallying point. Now, even though we all recycle more than we did 20 years ago, we all consume a lot more, too. So really, we're back at a starting point of too much consuming.

I have to admit, I get a bad mark in the consumption category. My house has had to make room for many closets have a lot clothes and shoes...our kitchen has a gadget for each task and we own about four monitors per capita in our home. I had totally bought into the conspicuous consumption mentality, but now I'm trying to opt out.

I'm trying to opt out not only for environmental reasons (even though these are especially valid), but also for emotional reasons. Sometimes it's hard to think with so much stuff around. It gets hard to focus on more important things - family, friends, career - when there is so much stuff to acquire. So in baby steps, I'm opting out. I'll be declaring February a no purchase month. I know I have discussed these months of mine before, where I don't purchase anything new, eat lunches in and keep grocery shopping to a minimum, but I haven't had one in several months and I think it is well past due.

Anyone want to join me? C'mon it's a short month!

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