When I first came up with my Buy Nothing January challenge I did a little research.
I wanted to better understand consumerism and the elusive concept of materialism. I found that materialism has become a cultural norm – we’re so used to buying new items and feeding the economy that it’s become a part of our culture. From a young age we’re taught to want more, to buy more, and to need more than any other generation ever has before. It’s counterintuitive. And it’s very frustrating.
We live on a planet with an finite number of resources. Our mass-production efforts release harmful toxins into our air and water – the effects of which are mostly still unknown to policy-makers and scientists alike. And for what? New things that are just going to break down and need replacement? What about the cost to our environment and human health?
One resource that I found very enlightening on my road to better understanding materialism and the culture of consumerism was The Story of Stuff Project. This series of animate lectures, the brain-child of Annie Leonard, explains the problems of the consumer cycle in a way that’s accessible to people of all age and educational backgrounds. Check out the original “Story of Stuff” video to learn more about the cycle of consumerism that we’re trapped in. It’s only 20 minutes and will leave you with lots to think about.
Do you have any resources about consumerism that you would like to share? I’m interested in learning more!