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Archive for the ‘Consumerism’ Category

I’ve been checking out the tons of interesting links around about extreme simple living.  What do you think?

1.  Freegans: Check out this blog to see how to use dumpster remains for tasty supers! Woah….

2.  (From Treehuger) A bike powered trailer!  So cool!

Brian has perfected the fabrication of an all-weather enclosure that is light, insulated, very stable, and road worthy. This model is 8′ x 4′ and weighs only 80 pounds. It has a spacious interior that fits a sleeping adult (or two?), has many interior shelves, and is priced to sell (he’s asking $1,950 but says he’ll take offers). He can modify the hitch custom for any bicycle.

4.  This is one of the most talked about stories right now: Van living at Duke. Read his story: Here and here.  As a grad student living on the cheap, I can definitely understand his struggle.  At the same time, I question the gendered privilege he exhibits… have you ever heard of a woman hitchhiking 7,000 miles???

These guys are taking it to the extreme!  Be guaranteed that you will find much more moderate posts on frugality here, but it’s always good to see what people are doing as food for thought and inspiration… if they can do it, so can we!!!

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I was thinking about consumerism the other day.  One of my colleagues did a presentation on “the body shop”, a store that markets to the ethical consumer.  She pointed out that the advertising (in store) is all designed to make you feel good when you buy these products because you are making a difference in the world.  While I applaud the body shop for donating a significant amount of its products to good community projects, I am left wondering:  are they selling soap or ideals?  Do we really have a society that can sell anything?  While, I myself am a card holding member of the Body Shop and am a big fan of the spin off, Lush; and while, I myself believe in ethical consumerism, I can’t believe that I/we cannot feel good unless we buy something!  This is a real travesty and even if we buy ethical, wonderful, locally, fair trade, organic, etc, I don’t think we can simply count on being a consumer to really make a difference.

Now, I know it’s the holiday rush and everyone (myself included) is running around trying to buy things and save money or make things and save more money.  But I think it’s important that we enjoy being humans first and consumers second.  In this way, we need to be anti-consumerism.  By consumerism, I mean valuing, placing trust in, and harkening to consumption, specifically over-consumption, which means most Americans are guilty, because most of us own more that one or two pairs of shoes.

So here’s my challenge:  In order to fight consumerism on any level, lets reflect on a moment we enjoyed that was not consumption.  That generally means food is out, hegemonic notions of beauty are out (you can’t say that you finally fit into your skinny jeans for example), purchasing gifts is out.  Family and friends are in, nature is in, service is in, and fun is definitely in.  Are you game?  I’d love to hear your reflection in a comment.  Or even better, write it on your blog or tell a friend.  Basically, I think that by valuing things other than consuming, we value our humanity over and above our consumption.  This is the very heart of frugality.

My moment: Running through the Arroyo Seco with changing leaves and feeling the crisp air bite a little on my lungs.

My moment 2: My husbands embrace.

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