Haven’t we figured out yet that wasting our money on stuff is bad for the Earth? From the WaPo:
When renowned environmentalist Paul Hawken is asked to comment on the new green consumer, he says, dryly, “The phrase itself is an oxymoron.”
“The good thing is people are waking up to the fact that we have a real [environmental] issue,” says Hawken, who co-founded Smith & Hawken but left in 1992, before the $8,000 lawn became de rigueur. “But many of them are coming to the issue from being consumers. They buy a lot. They drive a lot.”
They subscribe, in other words, to a destiny laid out by economist Victor Lebow, writing in 1955: “Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction . . . in consumption. . . . We need things consumed, burned up, replaced and discarded at an ever-accelerating rate.”
The culture of obsolescence has become so deeply ingrained that it’s practically reflexive. Holey sweaters get pitched, not mended. Laptops and cellphones get slimmer and shinier and smaller. We trade up every six months, and to make up for that, we buy and buy and hope we’re buying the right other things, though sometimes we’re not sure: When the Hartman Group, a market research firm, asked a group of devout green consumers what the USDA “organic” seal meant when placed on a product, 43 percent did not know. (The seal means that the product is at least 95 percent organic — no pesticides, no synthetic hormones, no sewage sludge, no irradiation, no cloning.)
Dude. I coulda told you all that. Maybe with not those exact words, but still.
It’s outrageous, the amount of money wasted on stuff. Why don’t we reuse the stuff we already have? Why don’t we mend the clothes that look a little worn out? (Speaking of which, Trin and I bought a fabric shaver that takes all those lint pills off your clothes — its awesome!) Why don’t we drive our cars longer?