Friday, June 27, 2008

Consumerism with a face

Consumerism is almost unavoidable, unless you have a self sufficient farm/house and depend only upon yourself. Being able to buy things doesn't necessarily mean being irresponsible individual who only cares about his/her needs. Rather than"I spend there for I am" I'd like to live upon "I act the way I think" principle.

I decided to become more responsible type of a consumer, being careful about who I give my money to. Now I might not be rich enough to be able to afford fair trade products only but I did make few decisions on what to change when I buy things (or as we Slovenians say: "Start by tidying your own doorstep." ).

So what is really that I can do about it? Well, for start I decide to:
  1. Ban buying things made in countries that use "cheap" labor force. Sure it costs lest, but I will not give my money to people who support exploitation. I'm willing to pay fair price for fair amount of work. It doesn't mean I will spend more money for shopping, it means I will think whether I really need new pair of sneakers only because existing ones are out of fashion.

  2. Buy my fruits/vegetables on organic market. I prefer to give my money directly to farmers than to supermarket, who usually sells frozen stuff of low quality, rich with pesticides. Buying cheaper fruits doesn't mean saving money - it means eating crap quality food for low costs, resulting in crap quality "vitamins" that don't make you feel any better.

  3. Pay more attention to the content than design: I prefer to buy a big bottle of yogurt rather than taking lots of small cute cups. For the things I use more often I prefer to "produce" as little garbage as possible. Remember, design doesn't reflect quality - usually it's the other way around: attractive design covers for poor content (especially evident in cosmetic industry).

  4. Make my own gifts. I've tried to do it as often as possible - not only they are unique but they also show your care for person. Since I don't always have enough time to make my own gift, I'd sometimes buy a nice book instead. It is the though that counts.

  5. Favor natural medicine before official one. I don't need to take a pill for every little inch I feel in my body. In fact, I'd like to give AS LITTLE MONEY AS POSSIBLE to the pharmaceutic industry. They don't want me to get well, they want me to stay ill and spebd more money. Let's be honest, healthy people don't spend money as easily as sick people do. So I'll put special effort to stay as healthy as I can (and quit my bad smoking habit asap).

  6. Stop buying things "just in case". I have my closet full of "just in case" clothes I wore maybe one time but it most cases not even that. Not to mention some of "just in case" food, I never used. "Just in case" stuff usually ends either forgotten somewhere or as a gift to your friend.

  7. Say no to plastic bags. They are everywhere and it's hard to escape massive collection of them as you get them for free even without asking. The truth is plastic bags are usually blown away from garbage disposals and end up on trees, in the sea or in some animals' mouth/throat. What's the alternative? Cotton/paper bags you can reuse for a longer period of time.

  8. Reuse and rearrange old furniture. Luckily I have that creative inch to play around with old stuff and make something attractive out of it. I have to admit I love Ikea, but I will not go there for shopping anymore. Not only because they use cheap labor force to make their stuff, but also because it is low quality. Let's be honest, nothing is cheap when you have to buy it twice.

  9. Save some money for cultural events. I think cultural activity is perhaps one of the most important things for one nations' identity and I'll be glad to put my money where my mouth is. Few Euro's is small price to say: I love and support your work.

  10. Support the Polluter pays principle. We should get more aware of our responsibility towards environment. Until educational system manages to spread knowledge about it let the cash speak. Sometimes it's the only way to understand.
All of this might not change the world in a day but it's a start. Thinking global and acting local is far more successful than you can imagine. So what is your own personal consumer manifesto?

8 comments:

Petra said...

Ok, jst dodajam še enega. "Med vikendom nema vstopa v štacune - razen če je orto nuja (beri:ČISTO prazen hladilnik)."
Pred nekaj tedni sem šla v trgovino, ker mi je pač zmanjkalo kruha in mleka, in ne moreš da verjameš. Na lep sončen dan, namesto, da bi se familija spokala na kakšen potep v NARAVO, so se raje podali po nakupih. Svašta. Kaka gužva je to bila...ne morem opisat. Šla sem kupit samo 2 stvari (in nisem tip kupca, da bi še dodatno štarfnarila po štacuni) in sem samo v trgovini porabila 30 minut! Fak no!
In še danes se sprašujem zakaj je tip pri sosednji blagajni, tisto soboto, tako nujno potreboval tist EN plastični ležalik.

Cherry said...

se strinjam, da včasih povsem po nepotrebne zavijemo v trgovino in iz navade nakupimo stvari, ki jih zares ne poterbujemo v tistem trenutku.

Vendar pa s emi zdi pomembno tudi kaj in kako kupujemo. Evo ta vikend sem se uspšeno vzdržala vsakršnega šopinga (če sladoled na sončku ne šteje) :)

Petra said...

hehe...Ta vikend? Sej je šele sobota:) Honey, ne se veselit prehitro :P

No, če ti uspe, ti z veseljem predstavim mojo mati, ona namreč kraljuje kar se tiče brezglavega nakupovanja. ;)

Adamgv said...

Very good blog. I wish you much success.

kejt said...

cherry, ti si zvezdica. :* lepo si to spisala in upam, da boš s tem komu pomagala k odločitvam za bolj "trajnostni" lajfstajl. če kdo, smo potrošnice in potrošniki tisti, ki moramo ozavestiti svojo "moč".
zame pomembno je tudi to, da absolutno *ni res*, da bolj trajnostno naravnan življenjski slog pomeni "povratek v kameno dobo", kot so to "modro" poimenovali določeni pametnjakoviči. absolutno je možno, da se odklopiš od te konzumeristične manije in še kako živiš življenje 21. stoletja, kajne. :)

kejt said...

še TOLE

Petra said...

wtf? Povratek v kameno dobo?? lol! To lahko sam takšen reče, ki ima dejansko način razmišljanja takšen - kamen, pač.
To je isto al pa tisti, ko rečejo: "Ja kaj pa jst lahko naredim, sej jst sem samo eden..."

Ja sej, s takšnim načinom razmišljanja taki težko sploh karkoli naredijo. :/

Lukc said...

moj predlog je, da hitro pokurimo cim vec nenadomestljivih virov, ker bomo tako prisilili ljudi, da prej preklopijo na obnovljive in kul vire ... pa ne bo se nam treba ubadat z nekim varcevanjem ... :D