Friday, September 25, 2009

7 Quick Takes-Just Stop Buying Stuff and Grow Something!

For more (and better) Quick Takes, visit Jen.

Oh, I do have a restless mind these days. There is so much going on, so much to accomplish toward our goal of being overseas next Summer, so many little people with big needs and even bigger smiles. I am overwhelmed. Then there are the big problems of the world that always seem to crash full force into my brain all at once. I start thinking I need to solve the problem of injustice, save the environment, get my house perfect to put on the market, teach my children poetry and music, and have all the laundry folded and put away. Something has to give...but usually I just get paralyzed and collapse on the couch unable even to get dinner on the table. Ever feel that way?

1. Big Problem of the Week: Consumerism
I was passing a dollar store today and saw a sign in the window that said "Be Part of the Solution" with a photo of a reusable dollar store bag. Now I am all for reusable bags, but isn't the whole dollar store (home of cheap, plastic, landfill-cluttering goods) a bigger problem than my occasional plastic bag? Besides, do all of these bags that stores are now selling come from recycled plastic? Maybe. Isn't it better to just use random canvas tote bags that you already have around than to buy new bags? I hate how we have turned even being green into a chance to consume.

2. Fair Trade and Justice
I think I mentioned the book Everyday Justice last Quick Takes. The first words of the book are "Don't panic" (or something like that). I am supposed to read the book and think about baby steps I can take. But that is not how my mind works, so I just get overwhelmed thinking I will never be able to make sure everything I buy is from fair trade sources. Then I give up.

3. Consumerism Mecca: The Mall
We were at the mall yesterday eating lunch with the hubby, and I couldn't even enjoy it at all. I kept wondering where and how my Chick-fil-A chicken was raised and what conditions the workers in the slaughterhouse worked under. Then I looked around at all of the stuff for people to buy. SO MUCH STUFF! And I thought that even if I buy everything second-hand, use Freecycle for stuff I no longer need, and cut down on consumption of things that aren't fair trade it would never be enough.

4. Sometimes I just wish Jesus would come back and make us all agrarian again. Speaking of that, I get to hear Norman Wirzba tonight. I love living here!

5. I need rest.
And these this lovely blog post by my friend Catherine was exactly what I needed to read today.

6. Things that do not worry me? Swine flu (excuse me, H1N1) and the economic crisis.

I know we could get the flu, but we live in such a privileged place, that it is highly unlikely the outcome would be bad. And we would all have stronger immune systems.

I know my husband could lose his job, but we have resourceful families and could make it in a depression. If this crisis could stop the awful, cheap urban sprawl building that is destroying our good land, force more people to learn to grow their own food or buy it locally, and make more conservationists out of consumers, then it is a good thing. Unfortunately, I fear we are too hasty to turn things around and are just propping up our economy on more greed and consumerism.

7. And now, to end it with some humor...

Thanks to Jennifer for this excellent link on the new Dan Brown book (speaking of stuff not to buy). If you hate his books as much as I do, you'll love this.

1 comment:

Marie said...

My in-laws were visiting the other day and they started talking about my mother-in-law's aunt, how horribly unclean her house was. It was so bad that when someone went to visit her once she waited in the car for them and visited with them on her porch so no one would see inside her house. Then she paused, and pointed at the piano, and started talking about how this aunt could just sit down at a piano and play and play, and such beautiful music.

The consumerism stuff is overwhelming, it's true. And part of the problem is that any time someone starts moving in the right direction, it gets co-opted by the thinking already in charge. The bag thing -- I've heard tell that supermarkets have shrunk their cart sizes over the years, the idea is that they don't want someone coming in and buying food for a week, they want visits every few days, because a huge proportion of their sales are of impulse items. I'm wondering if the bag thing is part that, too -- come in with a couple totes every day instead of buying in bulk?
Even the least consumerist people I know are buying stuff all the time. Honestly, I think the only thing that curbs me at all is when I have no money, and the thing is that as long as there are credit cards I'm never in a place where I don't "have money", of a sort. I think part of anti-materialism, though, is enjoying the things you do acquire, but enjoying their use as things. You know, the old love people, use things instead of loving things and using people deal. I do find that the fewer things I buy (or buy for the kids) the more I appreciate what is in the cart.
Also agree on the hope for a change from the depression and a fear of the hasty propping. Guess we all have a choice,eh?
Dan Brown -- have you ever read Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum (sp?)?