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Consumptionist Society That We Are—and a Pledge to Improve

by Lisa on October 16, 2010

Consumptionist is too a word!

When we think of the concept of consumption, there are infinite contexts that can apply—natural resources, supplies, sugar, salt, food, and more. Our culture in the US is driven supremely by consumption. I’ve been thinking about this lately for a few reasons.

  1. I am trying to eat more mindfully, and I noticed that sometimes when I’m eating something I really like, I eat faster—maybe so I can get to the next bite more quickly?  Instead of just enjoying the bite I’ve got, I’m thinking of the future and missing out on the present.
  2. I’m trying to save money and simplify my life so I can focus more on my passions and purpose rather than on making sure I can make all my payments each month. I like to write things on paper—and figure out plans for spending (then I usually ignore it and recalculate it later). But, I made a list of all the things in my life that I spend money on that I don’t need—and there was a lot, even though I think I’m pretty reasonable in general or compared to average (no knick knacks or purposeless-stuff for this lady).
  3. I walked through the grocery store and thought about what it would be like to have a budget for what I was going to spend (which I should maybe do, but Leos don’t like to budget).  If I did, though, I wouldn’t just walk down aisles picking things out on whims. I’d have to plan out what my meals would be and think about what I was going to need or use. I’d buy less if I were more organized about planning.
  4. My printer ink is low, I’m almost out of paper, we ran out of toilet paper yesterday, we have no Kleenex left, there’s only a tiny bit of dish soap, the laundry detergent is almost gone, I need a new clothes basket, my car needs new tires, I need to add more tea/sugar to my kombucha brew…you get the idea. I can take care of all of those things rather quickly—but most of the time I do it without thinking about the consumption aspect.
  5. I bought Matthew some animal movies on half.com, spent $15 including shipping and he has 7 new things to watch (that are actually educational too).  This past summer, I bought him a bike at a yard sale for $7. He’s ridden it like a maniac since then.
  6. When I buy produce and things without wrappers, I notice how much less trash we generate (it was even a better feeling before my mom banned me from dumping my compost at her house). Eating raw and plant-based also yields benefits by requiring fewer dishes to be washed (in most cases), less energy use (no oven/stove/microwave), and the opportunity to buy local is greater sometimes as well (apples and squash right now!).

There are certain things I probably won’t/can’t compromise on.  But there are a lot of things I can change to decrease my consumption and increase sustainability.  I’m going to try.  What could you do in your own life?

P.S. Did you hear that Russia banned microwaves and Canada banned the use of BPA (bad stuff in plastic) because of the dangers to peoples’ health?  Imagine what that would do to the profit margin of big business in the US!

P.P.S. I’m banning BPA and microwave use in my own life. I hope you do too.


  • Kyle

    In November I'll be going microwave free as well… and actually kind of looking forward to it. I'll use my teakettle more and without the ease of heating/ reheating I'm positive my diet will take a turn for the better (ie. more fresh consumables rather than processed packaged stuff that just needs a little zap before it's “edible”!)

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