As I look to change my actions to help the Earth, I am immediately conscious of these categories: unchecked consumerism, food, transportation, and fashion. I may discover other areas as I work through these ideas, but these are the four I know I will cover on days of the future. Let’s begin with unchecked consumerism.
Americans seem to have the need to purchase “stuff” to make us happy. My question is, does that item give us lasting happiness? Usually, for me, that answer is a disappointing, “no”. I often think someone(s) someplace made the decision that the only way our economy could flourish was by convincing the general populace to buy, buy, buy. My mantra often is, “Money, money, money! Everybody wants my money!” In answer I have created a mind game to find ways to acquire what I NEED in the least expensive way possible. My money is only my money until I spend it. Once I spend it the money is no longer mine. Therefore, it makes me happy to only purchase what I need in the least expensive way possible. I like keeping my money.
For example, if I need to use a tool only rarely, I first look to borrow it from someone that has it. If I can’t borrow it, I look to purchase it second hand. If the item is second hand, someone else bought it and used it, so I am not adding to my carbon footprint by having a new item created. There are many sources to buy used items: estate sales, second hand shops, thrift stores, pawn shops, garage sales, to name a few. These are not just good sources for tools. Almost every piece of furniture in my house came from these sources and they are attractive, solid items. Most of my kitchen utensils are second hand. So are linens, clothing, wall hanging, etc. I buy second hand at a much smaller carbon footprint at a much lower cost, bring it home and wash it, clean it, and use it. It didn’t cost much and looks fine and stayed out of the landfill.
Buying anything new is a last resort!
Remember: my money is only my money until I spend it. Therefore, I really work at eliminating impulse buying. If I want an item, I think it over. Is the item a need or a want? Can I afford it? I buy very, very little on a charge card and if I do use a card, I pay it off in full each month. Those charge cards will really eat you up in interest!
All of these suggestions require will power. “Money, money, money! Everybody wants my money!” works for me. Find what works for you. The Earth will thank you and so will your wallet!