Stuff, stuff and more stuff

22 Apr

In honour of Earth Day 2012, I decided to write one more post, this time to tell you about the Story of Stuff Project. Maybe you have already heard about it or watched the video, but even so it’s worth a few minutes of your time to remind you that consumer choices are important and they impact our society and our world…our earth.

I first stumbled upon this video a few years ago and I realized I did not know much about the chain of events that lead up to the production and sales of the products I buy daily. I watched this video again today and it shocked me at how many of those details had slipped my mind and how materialistic I had allowed myself to become yet again. It’s like a drug or an addiction and that’s simply not healthy for me, or anyone else for that matter.

Recent events made me aware that we had accumulated way too much stuff in our home. When it came time to deal with the removal of the contents it was a conundrum about how to go ahead. What do we do with it? What do we get rid of and what should we keep? Where do we send it; dump, recycle, thrift store, family and friends? Purging the house felt good. But it was stressful. So many things had emotional sentiment and it almost felt like a personal betrayal to get rid of it, but yet it had to go. The clutter becomes overwhelming and unhealthy in so many ways. So how do we end up in this situation in the first place? Do we do it to ourselves? Did we cause our own crisis by our own consumer habits and reckless choices?

The short answer for most of us would be yes! Let’s accept responsibility for our actions. We shop for things we need, and convince ourselves that our ‘wants’ are also items that we need, we cannot live without. We life in a disposable lifestyle that tells us that we will not be happy without the latest and greatest, and that broken or outdated toy bought yesterday is better thrown away and replaced by a new one because it’s just not cost-effective to fix. Sound familiar? We are all guilty of that thinking…myself included. Where on earth does it stop? Where does it all end up? What is the impact on all of this in our world, environment, personal health, economy?

It changes when you and I decide to make different choices, better choices. Choices in our shopping habits about where we choose to shop, what we choose to buy and how we choose to live. Do the stores we frequent have healthy practices that support our environment and community, support those who shop in them and those who work in them? Do we know where the merchandise comes from or how it is made? Is it full of toxic chemicals that pollute our earth and our health? Can we source alternatives and find healthier products and live a happier and healthier life? Can our economy survive and sustain us in a less consumerist focused society? The answer lies with me and you. It comes down to our own choices.

Speaking from my heart, I know that I believe that it is possible to make change happen. I want to make better consumer choices that focus on ensuring that my choices make positive impact on my community and my earth and ultimately and most importantly my family.  It is important to me that I know where I shop and what I buy is supporting a sustainable earth. It is certain that I will make mistakes and sometimes sloppy choices, but committing to make a conscious effort is the first step. Following through on that decision is the second step. Informing myself of product and company knowledge is another step. All these little steps and purposeful choices add up.  Each person who decides to take these steps also makes a positive impact as well. Now the next important question is …what will you decide today?

Happy Earth Day my friends!


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