Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Story Of Stuff is a good example of how media can be used for good. This is a clip I would show to my children. I doubt this will ever go past marketing, and catalyze real change, but it reminds me that, as an American, to subscribe to such mindless consumption is simply shameful. I'm all for consumption --- of services and ideas and innovation. Consumption with a purpose more lasting than the instant sugar high.

Individuals on both sides of the mean share a common flaw --- the need to use material goods to define themselves. The poor do it out of survival instinct. The wealthy out of intellectual laziness or emotional convenience. Most of the smart people I know consume very little outside of coffee and the occasional bottle of wine. They're all too busy creating new companies and trying to create new services. Not to consume more, really, but to reinvest in OTHER even bigger innovations. Myself, I never think of things I'll buy with extra money...I always think of the ideas I could fund...

We as a generation and society seem to have lost our pride in discipline, hard work, and denial of immediate gratification. My personal pledge here is to reduce the stuff I consume, and to use my knowledge of technology to produce new stuff that is greater than the sum of its waste and adds value back to the system. Energetically, I can only change forms --- but perhaps I can work to even the balance a bit.

I'm open to ideas on how to convince those mesmerized by consumption to step away, to go on a stuff diet. While I applaud the video, I think it's too convenient to be a messenger without a plan. I found their "Call to Action" items weak. Inspiration without action is just cheap entertainment. The hard work, the discipline, to change every day habits is what is needed. They did succeed in motivating this little rant, for what it's worth. At least the Google Bot can enjoy my soliloquy.

Maybe that's the first step --- some sort of list that can be shared to remind people to add one anti-consumption deed to their rituals per day/week/month. If I can shave 1 unit of consumption off per week, for example --- food, fossil fuels, waste, etc. --- and design it into the rituals, I can look my kids in the eyes and say that I didn't mess the planet up for them. Right now, I can't really say that! Perhaps I'll build an App for Apple can sell more stuff!

1 comment:

Robert A. Ficcaglia said...

Just an update --- have completely stopped buying bottled water, or any beverages.

Also stopped using paper coffee cups and now use recycled, reusable insulated cups.

Next goal is to cut back on packaged foods.