Go Green seems the motto of today's chatter.
Save the world: buy organic.
Save the world: buy alternative fuel.
Save the world: buy cloth.
Save the world: buy local
All well and good but do you see a problem? One little word joins all of these together...a word which our economy is built upon...a word we are told will ruin our nation if it is taken away: BUY.
But does it matter? What affect could this have on the environment? Producers of goods will see that Americans care and will therefore start producing more environmentally friendly things, right? Sure, and if that is your goal, you will win with this motto. However, before your victory dance is done, consider this: With every product that is made, there are factories which run to produce it, trucks consuming fuel to transport it, and something being thrown away which it will replace. Overall...it is one more thing to clutter the earth.
Sometimes it seems to me that environment isn't really the focus of these "green consumers" but rather the "status" of being Green itself. Here is a case in point from a small corner of the internet world. There exists in cyberspace an internet forum called Diaper Swappers: a sight having everything to do with the resurrection of the cloth diaper. As you could imagine, most of the participants are quite concerned with the environment. However, I see a catch in their logic; a small amount of, may I say it, hypocrisy in their reasoning. To many on this sight, diaper buying/selling/trading becomes an addiction. If a "fluffy" package (or five) does not arrive in the mail, it can apparently ruin a good day. Yes, many of these are used diapers...traded amongst the members... but delivered all across the world, thus consuming fuel, creating the need for packaging, and breeding dissatisfaction with their current "stash" (the term used for one's supply of poop-catchers) as one realizes that there will always be a better diaper and "I must try it."
Of course, this is only one small example of the point. Goods are being thrown away by the loads as they are replaced with more environmentally green products.
Wouldn't the earth be better off if we would simply stop consuming so many products: green or not? Well, if environment itself does not persuade you to halt consumerism in your spending, perhaps you need something more tangible because, let's face it, global warming can not be seen in the everyday walk of life; thus making everyday consumerism justifiable as we tell ourselves "just this one time."
Back to the word "buy." As our economy faces recession, the government will do whatever it takes to jump start our spending again. A check for around a thousand dollars will apparently make us feel that everything is okay: persuading us to go and have some fun "on the house" (the white house that is). So I wonder: are people simply paying their debts every month out of mere tradition...habit? Are they forgetting the piles of money they are inDEBTed to pay to their creditors?
We are not free and clear on this one by a long shot. We knew when we started our adoption that we would be getting into "unsecured" debt. We accepted this and now is where the rubber meets the road as we see the reality of debt in a troubled economy. It is all quite unsettling.
These two things have, just recently, been impacting my view of spending. The word consumerism...when taken in the context of personal responsibility to our environment and to our finances...has begun to change how I feel when I take a trip to the store. I have even begun losing my desire to leave the house, knowing that if I do I will only find something to buy that we "need." (and yet could have gotten by perfectly fine without had I not gone out).
I will conclude this rambling post with two things to consider when you are thinking of buying even the littlest thing:
1. What will have to be thrown away if I buy this product?
2. (if you have debt) Buying ______ instead of using the money to pay off debt is just the same as putting it on my credit card. Would I buy ______ on credit? It is worth going further into debt for?
Peace as you consider these things.