Our wealthy and comfortable population has what it needs, but do we call it a sin if we own more than we can care for, and still finding ourselves wanting more? Why do We Buy What we Don’t Need; a solar-powered waving clown, a belly button brush, a silver-plated ice cream scoop? Anything to get through the week, to feel good, and have a laugh.
Initially we are amused or emotionally satisfied with new stuff but we seldom feel embarrassed or over indulged. When is enough? Most of this frivolous consumption produces a thirty second high of hedonistic pleasure, that lasts as long as a nicotine hit. There is a hidden cost in our consumption of What we Don’t Need. It unfortunately often ends up in the land fill. The factory that makes it, the transport and packaging to get it to you. It may be time to slow down, be honest about our contribution to the death of the planet, and stop buying unneeded stuff.
The question is when will landfills be larger than shopping malls and golf courses?
Many products on the market have no real lasting value or life altering attributes. Remember we are usually consuming to “feel” better or make someone else “feel” better. An electronic singing door bell; a Darth Vader talking piggy bank; an ear-shaped i-phone case; an electronic wine breather; a sonic screwdriver remote control; bacon toothpaste; a plastic electronic Terry the Swearing Turtle; or – the not to missed – Scratch Off World wall map (who invented that irony); This stuff does not do anything for anyone in the long run, cannot feed the soul but it does ruin the planet. The idea is this; those who market stimulate our uncontrolled impulses. They have us by the balls with temptation and mindlessness. Consumable frivolous crap is designed to fix you, strengthen you, encourage you, make you better, make you first or best, but in reality it does none of this. The sexy girl with the tooth paste or shiny Ford Truck will never make you a better you or better sex life.
It’s a selling scam designed to make you fall out of consciousness
and spend money.
Researching her film, The Story of Stuff, Annie Leonard discovered that of the materials flowing through the consumer economy, only 1% remain in use six months after purchase. I used to paint wall murals in peoples houses. Many of these people had homes that Did Not Need a mural. The homes where already beautiful. What I noticed time and again was the vast amount of unused and unappreciated stuff! If I needed a rag, bucket or broom I went to the closet, the basement or under the sink. AMAZING what was there, the “a personal pre-dump home landfill”. Stacks of unread magazines, nick knacks, shampoo galore, every kind of cleaning agent newly scented, multiples of tape, spices, screwdrivers, clips, rolls of paper, etc. never used, but purchased “just in case”.
Our consumerism impacts future generations.
What is paramount to my tirade is taking the time to look critically at the stuff we “have to buy” and it’s expense to the planet and future generations. To own a plastic wiggling baby toy given as a joke to an adult embodies a huge determent to the environment. All included- raw materials, manufacturing, the package and transport, adverting, gift wrapping, and then final transportation to the land fill all for 6 dollars! It goes to the land fill after we have played with it for 10 minutes, 3 times and shown it to 2 people. The Cost of “feeling good” is outrageous. The frivolous fun of purchasing this instant joy stuff is a slow death for our planet. Much of the stuff is made from combinations of plastic, tin, glass, wood, paint, etc. and electronics filled with compounds of nonrenewable natural materials, including extracted zinc, lead, copper or mercury.
Think, maybe our impulse consumerism offers no real value.
Fossil fuels and resources are gleaned from neighboring countries with no regard for human life or the planet. Powerful corporate strategies manipulate other nations to utilized their land and resources to build and sustain free enterprise and free trade. The wealth of our industrial complex manufactures and consumes everything and is creating more than half of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere just so we can have imported scented toilet paper with little ducks hand printed on them. We are screwing the planet to make solar-powered bath thermometers to tell us if the water is hot.