...and in true human fashion, it hit exactly a point I was making yesterday when I was at Ikea with a friend. We were looking at kitchen scales and while in the kitchen department he showed me a knife set: a block of wood with five different kitchen knives in it for $3.99. My reaction was to be sad and depressed, which initially surprised my friend until I explained that the first thing I think of is "how in the world could something cost that little money-wise without costing something much greater in terms of labor, resources, etc". I know that I used to also be excited by what I perceived as a good deal until I started thinking about costs in a different way, so I could relate to his surprise at my reaction.
So it was really no surprise to me this morning when I came across this video, which touches directly on that issue. Sure, I'm a consumer. I own a retail store for crying out loud, so it's not like I'm not directly involved in the process of buying and selling stuff. However, more and more I am coming face-to-face with the concept of sustainability. What I really like about this video is not only the information (much of which many of us are already painfully aware), but that it gives real, tangible ideas of what to do next, ways to help, mitigating behaviors which can easily be applied to our daily lives.
I'm no Libra, but I am always striving for balance. Often, when I get outraged, I tend to get doubly outraged because I get information on something that is awful but no clear path/directive/idea of what I can do on a regular basis or even on an acute basis to help make change. There are so many things in this world that rile me up, upset me, make me sad, angry, what-have-you. But, like many, I get overwhelmed and need direction. What to do next? What can *I* do to change things, make things better? So I especially appreciated this video as it takes me right from frustration to hope and participation.
Before I started all my blogsurfing today I had already made my list of things to do. (For the first time in what seems like forever, I have found myself with an unexpected day off—the plans I had for the bulk of today have been moved and suddenly I have a whole entire day!) My list for today is in sections: stuff to do in the kitchen (bake something with these black bananas, make a frangipane tart with this homemade jam that needs to get used up, clean out the fridge, make my Wild Yeast starter so I can start making homemade sourdough bread), bedroom (fold laundry, clean out my closet and make piles: clothes to sell to Pretty Penny/Crossroads and clothes to donate), magazines (go through these piles of magazines that are all over the house: my friend Lisa subscribes to a number of mags, reads them, passes them on to me, I read them [hopefully, if I have time] then pass them on to Leslie), dogs (wash them, their bedding, take them for a walk), tend the garden, work on the red room (another purge: it's time to organize my lounge—I'm going to go through and get rid of yarn, books, mags and rearrange the room so I can move the TV and set up the Wii I bought yesterday), go to the gym and go to Target to buy a couple of buckets (to catch shower water to use in the toilet) and some cleaner for work. Then I go to Knit Night tonight.
So ... for those of you still with me, I'm sure reading my to-do list wasn't too fascinating, but—like so many things in my life right now—it seems a good example of two steps forward, one step back. I'm happy to see that so much of my list was already looking towards a level of sustainability: using up those bananas and that jam, making the wild yeast starter, going through clothes/yarn/books/mags to give them new life (and in doing so supporting a structure that allows people to buy 'new' things that aren't actually new), tending my garden. I know that there have been many times in my life that going to Target would have been a bigger presence on this list (and that my list of things to get there would have been far longer). I'm going to modify my list by taking Target off: instead I will try to find a bucket at the Goodwill or at a yard sale this weekend and I will make my own cleaner instead of buying another plastic bottle full of chemicals. So we've got some forward motion here, a bit of neutral, and a bit back too (hey - I know that there is no way I can legitimize that Wii in this flow chart. But boy, have I wanted it for a while, so at least it wasn't an impulse buy.)
Okay, I think it's time for me to get down off this horse. But this is so much a part of my consciousness right now that I had to share. For those of you still with me, won't you join me in trying to do one little thing today to take your consumption down a notch? Unplug your chargers, use a clothesline, plant a vegetable in your garden, buy something used instead of new, make it yourself, let it mellow, wear a sweater, ride your bike or walk, bring your own mug/bag, start a compost pile, mend your clothes, turn off the lights, read a book, knit, recycle anything and everything you can, put a bucket in your shower and make use of that extra water, think about your choices. The list is endless, really. Once you start it's easy to see opportunities everywhere. And pass it on ... if I can inspire one of you to do one of the above, it will make a difference. And if you do the same, well, we all know there's power in that. Let's flex it.
I found this little bunny yesterday in the backyard of the house where I'm housesitting. Isn't (s)he cute?! Today I get to make flyers to post around the neighborhood to see if (s)he belongs to anyone. And check the Humane Society "lost pet" pages.
But the funny thing is that - not 10 minutes before I found him/her - I was on the phone with a friend who told me he thought I should start keeping rabbits. True story.