Tuesday, October 24, 2006


OK, so I really try not to get onto my high horse too often, because I know how annoying that can be. Plus, I know very well that I am not a saint by any stretch, and just like anyone else, I'm not too crazy about hearing sermons from others. However, this
article deals with an issue that is near and dear to my heart. Canada is sitting at the coveted #4 spot as one of the biggest over-consumers in the world. It bugs me that we, as a society, are such uber-consumers. And clearly, I am not completely immune to this, after all, we do have 2 cars for 2 people, and just this year we bought a laptop and a digital video camera. But we do make a concerted effort to:
1) minimize the amount of garbage we produce each week (by composting, recycling and re-using as much as possible)
2) if at all possible, avoid buying overpackaged, disposable and single-use items
3) always resist the urge to buy on an impulse
4) resist the hype!

I really get quite annoyed at all the commercials that try to convince us that we absolutely *NEED* and *DESERVE* the latest and greatest in _fill-in-the-blank_, especially when it comes to disposable stuff. The latest trend in cleaning supplies is single-use stuff, that you keep buying every week (lining the corporation's coffers), and throwing out every week (lining the city dump). And yet it seems to make sense to many, many people. Is it just a case of "out of sight, out of mind"?

Also, it seems to me that everything is being designed for obsolescence. As an example, when we bought the light kit for the ceiling fan on the weekend, it turned out that they didn't carry the same colour for this brand (and they have over 20 different colours). They have similar colours, but just different enough that they would clash. My cynical side tends to believe this is done so that we would buy a whole new set (fan + light kit), since we can't match our existing fan anymore... We ended up going with a complementary colour instead...

And don't get me started about the "keeping up with the Jones'" syndrome. It seems to have been getting progressively worse (caused by easy credit? mass media? spiritual emptiness?) over the last few decades. Sometimes I wonder if it can even be stopped...

Anyway, I will get off my high horse now... But I would like to encourage everyone to take one small step to lower our over-consumption. Who knows, you may even save some money! One thing that I heard one couple do, was take a look at their weekly garbage at the curb, and try to minimize or eliminate the high runners. Too much styrofoam? Try to buy things in other types of containers. Cardboard? Maybe that can be recycled. Food scraps? Consider composting... You get the idea.

Ok, no more ranting for at least a month, I promise!


No comments: