Nov 7, 2010

Should we, Can we change our Consumer spending Economy?

With consumer demand in the doldrums in the USA and the holiday season upon us, America really could use a good holiday season of consumer purchasing to jump start the economy. But it's sad that we are so reliant on consumer spending to move forward and of course much of what we consume is made in Asia and boated to America which does not really make our manufacturing base any stronger.

An article in the local Natural Awakenings magazine for November 2010(written by Judith Fertig) speaks of the consumption economy we are in,

"Today, shopping has become firmly entrenched  in the American lifestyle. It is used as an antidote to bordeom, a substitute for socializing and a quick fix for a disguised emotional need. We continue doing it even when we're aware that we are buying things we don't need and can't afford. The more aware among us also understand that all the stuff we buy and store and cause to be manufactured and distributed creates a negative impact on people's lives and the environment."

Daniel Goleman in his book, Ecological Intelligence:How Knowing the Hidden Impacts of What We Buy Can Change Everything advocates,
"We take our role as consumers seriously in three ways:
1. Get the information and know the ecological impacts of the things we buy
2. Favor the eco-friendly improvements that companies make to their products
3. Share that information. Widespread support for sustainable alternatives is what's going to shift market share

Point 3 makes sense since Zappos the online merchandise store severely cuts it's marketing budget relying on great customer service to spread the word on it's products. "Spreading the word" about how to live responsibly can work.

"Duane Elgin, author of the landmark Voluntary Simplicity observes, 'Simplicity that is consciously chosen deliberate and intentional supports a higher quality of life. In reality, it is consumerism that offers lives of sacrifice, whereas simplicity offers lives of opportunity'

In Less is More, authors Cecile Andrews and Wanda Urbanska detail the types of simplicity thinking that can streamline our shopping and make us feel good, as we do good. Here are some points of this thinking:

UNCLUTTERED: Less stuff translates to a more peaceful, serene home environment

CIVIC:Giving money to civic organizations helps the broader community and can simplify gift giving.

FRUGAL:Spending less for things we really don't need can result in more money saved for the really important things, such as a long-desired vacation that broadens our horizons and helps improve a developing nation

BUSINESS-ORIENTED:Gift certificates give employees the chance to purchase what they need

SOULFUL:Although shopping can provide solace to some, not shopping can release much time to do other more important things for your psyche"

As with all environmentalism the journey begins as a child. If one is taught that needless spending and gift giving is the norm they will lead this type of life as an adult. If one is taught that time with friends, helping others, and empowering oneself is the norm then this will be their practice throughout life.

What will you teach your kids?

Even though Conserv-A-Store sells products to survive, we attempt to offer products that make your life better. We are cognizant that any manufactured product does contribute to depletion of mined minerals, involves tooling to produce the product and involves shipping to our and your location all of which contributes to green house gas increases--see Conservastore.com for more info

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