Thursday, February 24, 2011

something else to make you crazy.

I am under the influence of a few different individuals and philosophies, so I’ll try and spell those out.
I’m reading Change by Design by Tim Brown , Edible Landscaping by Rosalind Creasy, and the Lorax by Dr. Seuss plus I bought a calendar created by the Anti-Poverty Coalition in Whitehorse made up of guerilla photography illustrating a different view of home. This collection of seemingly unrelated information has somehow fueled the question of conscientious consumerism that has been rattling around my brain ever since I left home and had to fend for myself… more or less.

Having children changes everything and as they get older and express themselves, I now have first hand experience regarding just how much they absorb over these short years - including their parents’ consumer behaviors. So, noticing my behavior – treasure hunting at 2nd hand stores, accumulating materials and projects at craft stores, spontaneous purchases at the grocery store… and online… this behavior (and it doesn’t matter if the products are responsible choices – this is the equivalent of going to the toy store for grownups). I’m not saying that we need to stop consuming exactly, I’d like to think that it is part of what makes us human. Think of the beauty and culture of markets and bazaars. The buying and selling from individuals by individuals. The artists and crafts people who create one of kind objects...

This is where my theories get fuzzy and I try and distinguish between gratuitous purchasing and meaningful choices. Nevermind that somethings out there are like *thneeds. My current thought is that routine is important. Most markets open and close with regular hours. Maybe they are weekly, or a special event. When things are constantly available 24 hours or a click away, the planning and self-discipline required to remember to get what you "need" at the market evaporates and is replaced with recreational shopping. And you end up with more than you or your family really needs.
Is it stealing? Is it spreading the wealth? Is it greed? Is it job creation? Is it boredom? Is it capitalism? Is it right? Is it wrong? It depends… right?
It’s enough to make me cry. Crazy.
In conclusion, for now, I will try and limit my purchases to things that we have put on a list, or intend to use that week. And then use them in the way they were intended and model the circle of follow through. That might mean I am only buying food and utilities and shelter. Which I appreciate even more fully how incredibly fortunate I am to be able to do just that.

*I haven't had a chance to read much more on this site other than the thneed reference which for me was spot on.

1 comment:

April said...

i forgot about thneeds. what a useful definition. i like this thinking, this thinking is hard and important.