Sunday, April 13, 2008

Affluenza

In my quest to be Green, it is easy for me to focus on things that I need to BUY in order to help the planet. I think that is part of the greening game right now in the US. I don't have a linkable source for this, but I read recently that analysts expect the "green trend" to last for about 10 years. I guess for that amount of time, everything will be all about saving energy, reducing waste, choosing sustainable materials, fair trade, etc., etc. What will replace the "green trend" after 10 years? Will we all go crazy and start killing endangered species and torching recycling plants? That will be something...
I had a garage sale last Saturday and got rid of a bunch of stuff. I didn't get sell of EVERYTHING that I put out...a full truck load of stuff went to Goodwill, a huge moving box of clothes went to another place, two boxes of books will go to a used book store, some odd furniture to another charity, a box of glass serving items will go to a church, and I STILL have lots of miscellaneous left, including about 25 stuffed toys. How do you get rid of those? (I'm contemplating turning them all into puppets)
But what did I do right after I sold a bunch of my old junk? I was feeling generous since it was also my birthday, so I went to Target and spent some gift card money on two new toys for my son. Granted, these were not impulse purchases, but why do I keep buying things when I really really do have ENOUGH STUFF!
Actually, I don't buy much for myself. Most of my shopping is about my children. But do they really need "more stuff" any more than I do?
Ten years ago I joined the Center for the New American Dream whose slogan was, "More Fun, Less Stuff". I have let my membership lag, but the ideas about living consciously and buying wisely have stuck with me. More stuff really doesn't mean more fun! In fact, more stuff leads to more work! You have to take care of your stuff and find places to store it. Or nag your kids to pick up their stuff.
I'm sure you have heard the word "AFFLUENZA" (I love it when new words are born!)

Noun:
affluenza

  1. An extreme form of materialism resulting from the excessive desire for material goods
Affluenza, even GREEN affluenza is an environmental concern. The more stuff you acquire, the more stuff you have to eventually dispose of. If people keep buying lots of stuff, lots of stuff will continue to be produced for people to consume.
I'm not much of a political person, but it bothers me that the US economy is gaged largely on the buying and selling of meaningless stuff. When consumer spending is down, the media launches into a tizzy about how the economy is suffering. Why does choosing not to buy non-essential items doom our country's economic system? Is it my patriotic duty to spend my tax rebate instead of saving it?
There are several books on the subject of Affluenza and Simple Living. Of course, I want to buy them (I'm so...confused!).
Crunchy Chicken did a great chapter-by-chapter summary/review of Affluenza: The All Consuming Epidemic. She also has a Buy Nothing Challenge on her blog. 211 people have signed up to take the challenge! If you are ready to stop shopping (check out the rules...you are allowed to buy food!) maybe you can join up, too.

1 comment:

Justyn said...

Hey Candice,
I like the variety you have on your green blog.
If I may , I want to suggest one more book: Voluntary Simplicity by Duane Elgin (written over 20 years ago).
Thanks for your green blog.
blessings,
Justyn