Friday, May 1, 2009

Power Shopping: You Can Save the World After All!

“Almost the whole world is asleep. Everyone you know, everyone you see, everyone you talk to. [The few people who] are awake…live in constant amazement.”

(From Joe vs. The Volcano)

OK, so you can’t stop certain countries from developing nuclear weapons. Perhaps you’re not in a position to become mediator between warring religious factions. And more than likely, you won’t be the one who finally solves the “over-population vs. feed the hungry” challenge.


When you go to buy, think, “Do I really need this?” Every time you make a purchase, you touch off a whole series of events that can help or hinder your community, your nation, your world, and your own life. What kind of packaging? Lots of plastic?* Non-recyclable materials? Long lists of unreadable ingredients? Made in ways that don’t contribute to sustainable agriculture? Lots of stuff to consider.

Keep in mind that the more you buy, the more likely it is you are exhausting the world’s non-renewable resources. Every little bag tie that you toss into the trash, all the throw away foodstuffs that you don’t turn into compost, the many corrosive chemicals you pour down your kitchen and bathroom drains almost everyday contribute to the erosion of the  elements that keep life thriving.

When you shop, simply pay attention. Paying attention is the way we as “small” individuals can begin cleaning up the damage we’ve been causing for generations. And none of us is exempt. We did it; it’s up to us to undo it.

Much of what you buy you don’t really need. If you can live without it, please do. We’re counting on you to be, as they say, part of the solution. You’re the key, whether you believe it or not.

Preachy? I hope so.

(*Sources say that it takes up to a thousand years for plastics to break down and become reabsorbed into the environment. That’s only a guess. It may be much shorter, but more likely much longer. Today, plastics are responsible for some of the most damaging pollution in the world, particularly in the oceans. The world’s largest garbage dump, full of plastics and other refuse, floats freely in the Pacific. It is almost the size of a small continent.

It does us well to ultimately eliminate purchases packaged in plastics. It’s a challenge. And essential.)



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