|Source: USA Today|
Studies have shown that approximately 83% of Americans report receiving a gift they neither wanted nor needed. Further, of all the things we buy, only about 1% is still used six months after purchase. That's an obscene amount of waste.
Last year I blogged about seeing a stack of boxes that contained a product called "Easy Feet," designed so you wouldn't have to bend down to wash your feet in the shower. This year those items were again being sold at our local CVS store. Apparently, since our real needs are already met companies have to invent *needs* for us. This article at Alternet.org talks about the madness of our shopping habits:
Rare materials, complex electronics, the energy needed for manufacture and transport are extracted and refined and combined into compounds of utter pointlessness. When you take account of the fossil fuels whose use we commission in other countries, manufacturing and consumption are responsible for more than half of our carbon dioxide production. We are screwing the planet to make solar-powered bath thermometers and desktop crazy golfers.
People in eastern Congo are massacred to facilitate smart phone upgrades of ever diminishing marginal utility. Forests are felled to make “personalised heart-shaped wooden cheese board sets”. Rivers are poisoned to manufacture talking fish. This is pathological consumption: a world-consuming epidemic of collective madness, rendered so normal by advertising and the media that we scarcely notice what has happened to us. [Emphasis added by me.]The Alternet article goes on to point out how the U.S. government is always working on ways to simulate spending. This policy is unsustainable. We cannot endlessly spend and consume - needs and resources are finite. We've got to come up with a better way of life.
An example of how far we've drifted from rational thinking is this Mazda car commercial:
Selling a product in conjunction with a movie with an anti-consumption message - and using images from that very movie? Really? Really?
Do yourself, your family, and your planet a favor and get out your calendar right now. Make a note in November to remind yourself to opt out of the 2013 mass holiday shopping frenzy.