Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Stuff

I have recently watched this video on and it had me thinking. I was concerned about being a mindless consumer in today's world. I do not want to simply be the product of too much advertising. We always need a new dress, a new shirt, a new pair of pants, a new this, a new that, new, new, new! What happened right now if we were to stop buying things new? What if we were to (are you ready for this one?) reuse?! I know, scary idea. But really, what if we were to just reuse what we have. How much stuff do we have in our homes that we don't need. Taking a look around my room I can spot a lot: a guitar (it sits here because no one has bothered to learn how to play it), an extra pair of gloves (by the way, Coach gloves do not keep your hands warm), an extra chair in the corner of my room, extra jewelery cases, a stress ball, a desk sorter which sits unused, 5 different lotions (all with different smells and for different parts of your body). I know there is more in my room and not only my room but my whole house.

When I was moving my roommate told me, "you have too much stuff!". Too much stuff. It took three trips; one for his stuff and two for mine. Now that is a lot of stuff. The question came to me, "how much stuff do I need?" I could live without so much stuff in my room right now. This is all a luxury, but at who's expense? Well according to the Story of Stuff (the link previously posted) it is at the expense of the whole world but the developing world more so. I am going on a trip to become a better global citizen and to make even a small change. I want to learn more. Maybe I should start by not buying into this propaganda that we need stuff. I don't need that much stuff. I always thought I did pretty well too because I keep my TVs (yes I have a 250lbs TV in a wooden casing that I will not get rid of until it dies) and I try to keep everything until it is no longer feasible to use. I am the girl who keeps her socks even if she gets holes in them or her shoes even if they have been scuffed beyond repair. Even though I do try as much as I can I contribute to this stuff rage.

I have recently done a paper on e-waste and this helped to contribute to my thought process. E-waste. Electronic waste. I never really ever thought about it. When it came time for my to replace my old computer I didn't want to just throw them in the garbage, like my Dad suggested; I wanted to actually do something with them. I couldn't just throw them away, don't they have toxins? Turns out, yes. A lot. A lot. A lot. I learned about the horrible story that goes along with them as well. E-waste and how it is shipped overseas to developing countries where people take them apart without any safety measures. Don't they know it's dangerous!?!?! Ok so they probably do, and they probably don't have much of another option at this point. I believe it is up to us to make an option for them. Greenpeace offers a frequently upgraded list of companies and how green they are. This report is called Greenpeace's Guide to Greener Electronics. Here is a link to that: . They also have a video on youtube that disturbed me to my very core: . These two try to sum up as best they can about the situation pertaining to e-waste. Even if you have good intentions you may still be contributing to this. With the vast amount of electronics that we go through, we cannot sometimes help to be part of this stuff cycle.

We, as the Global West, need to stop buying so much stuff. In North America we are particularly bad, just take a look at Christmas! We buy and we buy and we buy. We work so we can buy more things, and we buy things because we work. What if we worked less and bought less? Things don't make me happy. They can make life easier, that is a fact, but when is it just too much? When I was particularly sad last year it wasn't because I didn't have enough stuff (according to my roommate who moved me, I had too much) it was because I was alone. I was alone for a year, my roommate at the time refused to talk to me and I needed interaction of some sort, I needed a community. What made me truly happy was when I bought a guinea pig. His name is Henri Cartier-Bresson, Henri for short. He makes me happier than the newest sweater from Bench or the latest styles coming out of Lululeamon or Aritisia. I love my little guy with all my heart. He's what cheers me up when I am sad, because I have interaction. Why don't we stop working so hard and appreciate what we do have. I don't need the latest iPod or the newest mini computer. I can make due with a good 'ol pen and paper or my old iPod (which I love because it's so old and hasn't died on me). I am going to try to be happy with what I have. I am thrifty and I am not scared to shout it to the world!

Now for the big question, how should I handle Christmas?

Oh and here is a picture of Henri :)