27 January 2011

The Big Breakup with Consumerism

I grew up in the generation of kids that knew about farms but secretly believed most veggies grew in cans at the grocery store and most chicken came in the form of nuggets.  Potatoes were fried and ketchup was an adequate serving of vegetables (gotta have some lycopene).

I entered adulthood with the millions of other adults who lived with a low grade fear that I would forget to buy more kitchen sink cleaner and have NOTHING to clean the sink with.  I mean, what would I do?  How would I survive?

I became a mother who should have bought stock in a paper towel company, so I could at least recoup some of the money I poured down the drain going through a roll every couple of days.  Or maybe I should have invested in the lumber company cutting down the trees to make all those paper towels, or the garbage collector picking up the trash I generated from using so many of those paper towels.

I'm trying to change all that. 

For my children.

For my husband.

For myself.

For my responsibility as a steward of all that God has entrusted me with.

We're learning, day by day, what we can do without.  What we can make ourselves.  What we can use as a more sustainable substitute.  We're simplifying by bringing less into our home.  It's a journey for our whole family.

We didn't stop buying stuff.  We just stopped being mindless consumers.  We stopped listening to all the media telling us that the world will come to an end if we don't push the button, or if we run out of paper towels.  We use our brains now.

Well, we're trying anyway.  It helps that we don't watch television.  Advertisements can be very effective.  But baby step by baby step, we're making an effort.  And guess what?  We're slowly succeeding.  And we didn't have to quit our jobs and move to the mountains to make it happen.  We live in a row house with a small back garden.  We still own one car, and we still eat out occasionally. We still travel by airplane, and  we still buy our eggs and cheese.

The point is, we're regular people.  We didn't give up our regular life, we just are trying to make our regular life even better.  Extraordinary.  It can be done, one tiny change at a time.

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