Consumer Treadmill Pause

Part 6 – “The Story of Stuff” Series

The last five articles I have been talking about Stuff, sharing many aspects discussed in “The Story of Stuff” by Annie Leonard.  While I found reading this book was depressing, especially since I read it during the frenzied holiday shopping season, I regrouped and remain hopeful. Progress is being made all around us.

Although many news sources minimize the damage caused by our consumer-driven economy with scare tactics and spins that make me dizzy, the main-stream media is more frequently encouraging conservative practices, exposing industry damaging practices, and reporting environmental scientific facts people are taking to heart.

The news reports an increasing number of communities and countries banning harmful practices such as Fracking, Tar-Sands, and GMO production. Countries are collaborating about Climate Change issues, although the United States continues to impede progress with limited commitments.  Our voice is becoming louder, exposing Big Business’s attempt to ignore, deny, and censor scientific facts.

Some businesses are already changing production processes as they realize its sound business practice to reuse materials and water instead of disposing them as toxic byproducts.  They are proving a healthy economy doesn’t mean choosing between pollution and progress.  With great strides being made in the renewable energy fields, we are gradually weaning ourselves from harmful carbon-based industries.

Environmental organizations are growing and becoming more influential as our citizens speak up. States and communities are taking a stand banning toxic disposables such as single-use Styrofoam, plastic water bottles and bags.  Some states and cities have managed to hold onto single-use beverage deposit laws, although simply refilling glass bottles makes more sense. While I’d prefer to see more momentum with reducing and reusing, it is encouraging more of our resources are now being captured at recycling facilities and more products made from recycled materials are available.

There has been a resurgence of second hand stores all over the United States filled with shoppers no longer self-conscious buying those goods. Craig’s List and EBay thrive and more people are sharing and borrowing Stuff.  I’ve noticed more communities encouraging their citizens to “Shop Local, Play Local”.  I see more people checking labels, at least attempting to avoid the invasive “Made in China” products.  Each election, more GMO labeling initiatives are on ballots.  More States and cities are adopting smoke-free ordinance, prioritizing our health curtailing second-hand smoke.

To live is to naturally progress, so momentum is on our side.

The Story of Stuff Series

Part I – “My Beloved Stuff”

Part 2 – “The Costs of Stuff”

Part 3 – “Bring on the Stuff”

Part 4 – “Stuff Build-Up”

Part 5 – “Stuff Becomes Trash”

Part 6 – “Consumer Treadmill Pause”

Part 7 – “Healthier Consumer Practices”


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