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Not supporting the system

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
I am reading the "where won't you shop/do business and why?" thread and also watching this movie The Fever and thinking of ways not to support the system of consumerism, exploitation, and slavery that seem to be the American way. It's so hard to even think of how we could *not* be playing into the system. I feel hopeless about it. But I know there has to be some MDC mamas and papas who have gotten past that shock and sadness and hopelessness and have changed what they do in order to not support this system.

I have been thinking about it for some time but right now I really feel passionate about it. Maybe it's the hormones ( I often feel very mama bear towards the whole world while pregnant) but I am willing to catch onto this wave and ride it. I have thought in the past of some ways to make a difference but haven't put them into practice as much as I want...

Voluntary Simplicity. This is really the gist of it for me. Question what I *need* and only have what we need. Really look at what my "comfort" is costing. To me it's not about buying the fair trade thing it's about buying the fair trade thing only when there is a need. To me fair trade is still consuming and it can still be frivolous.

Give. Anything I find I no longer need (or never really did) can be given to any number of people. Pass it on and they will have something they need or will find that they don't have to buy it new. And give time to worthy causes.

Reuse. Which can be buy used or re purpose things. I don't need a new couch. I can just repair the tare.

Foster Community. By supporting local farmers and businesses and giving and receiving from them, etc. Have the community mindset and seek opportunities to help it grow and to help within it.

Raise Conscious Children.

Did this make sense? Is it outlandish? What do you do? Even right down to the little details what do you do or feel we can do?
post #2 of 36
No takers yet? Hmm... interesting topic.

We are on a similar journey, I suspect. I'll try to jot down more specifics later, but one thing that really bugged me a couple of weeks ago was picking up a "green" guide and basically it seemed to be filled with ideas on how to continue being a mindless consumerist but feel better about your choices.
post #3 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fruitfulmomma View Post
No takers yet? Hmm... interesting topic.

We are on a similar journey, I suspect. I'll try to jot down more specifics later, but one thing that really bugged me a couple of weeks ago was picking up a "green" guide and basically it seemed to be filled with ideas on how to continue being a mindless consumerist but feel better about your choices.
Yes! This is a major issue for me with the "green movement". All it is is pushing products which takes away form the real issues in our world.

I have known people who have been convinced they needed to get rid of their entire wardrobe and replace it with "green" clothing because they felt guilty about their old stuff.
post #4 of 36
Reminds me of a commercial I saw today for SC Johnson.They were touting how they now use "greenergy" to power some of their plants so you can feel better about buying their products...like glade air freshener and windex.

You bring up some great ideas.
post #5 of 36
We are in this process here. I love that dh gets it all of the sudden. Alot of things have happened to get us here but are grateful and open to them all.
This week we are putting the three tv's in the house and what holds them in storage until we move. Not only are we sick of paying for the damn DirectTV bill, all we watch is a handful of things, all which we can find on there network website or hulu. Couple that with I don't let e watch it during the day since he gets so jacked up watching it I can't wait to see them go.

I am an anti clutter freak and dh loves clutter but he is embracing why i feel the way I do and we are over hauling every closet, drawer, room, and if it doesn't sell at yard sale over to Savers it goes!

I like knowing that I make alot of what we use, call me crazy!
post #6 of 36
Great topic! I will continue to come back for ideas! Here's what we do:

Buy local and sustainable We get most of our produce at either the farmer's market or a CSA. What we don't buy at those places, we buy at a local grocery or at the co-op. Meats we buy locally, too. We can get ground grass fed beef very inexpensively from a farmer who doesn't sell commercially and uses a Mennonite butcher. There is also local pork, lamb, and chicken to be had. Other than the ground beef, sustainable meat can be more expensive. We just eat less meat or no meat and we do Meatless Mondays.
Reduce plastic We're doing this a little at a time. We still pack food in plastic containers and use (and reuse!) Ziploc containers. Eventually, we'll phase that out as well. We use cloth shopping bags and I'm planning to make cloth produce bags out of old sheer curtains.
Buy used I don't buy new clothes for me and rarely for the kids. I don't really want to pay the prices they charge for quality stuff new and I can be picky if I buy used. I also buy kitchen stuff, baby stuff, toys, etc used. Basically, if I need something I look at thrift stores and garage sales first.
Make stuff! My skills are limited, but I try to make stuff if I can, especially if I can recycle something.
Find things to do instead of stuff to buy Community is a HUGE part of our lives. Our UU church, local environmental and activism groups, the farmers' market, the library, other families, etc. are all extremely important to our family health. So we go do instead of go buy.
No commercial TV My kids see commercials the few times a year they go to my sister's house or their dad's. Lack of commercials means lack of begging me to buy them useless crap. They also have a very healthy outlook on spending their own money on useless crap. My 8 year old recently had some money to spend and spent a week researching toy reviews before she settled on something to buy.
Use reusable stuff In addition to the shopping bags and re-using Ziplocs, we don't use paper towels or paper napkins (cloth napkins and dishtowels), disposable diapers (cloth, natch), paper plates, cups or cutlery (not even for b-day parties, with rare exceptions).
Learning to self-sustain We are learning to garden and intend to get chickens when we move. We live in a town that allows urban chickens. Our current landlord won't allow them, but our next landlords will! We're also learning fermentation methods of preservation and we already make a lot of what most folks buy food-wise. A great book to check out is The Urban Homestead by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knudsen

We still have a long way to go before we feel like we've really succeeded in balancing our quality of life with our principles. I feel good about working on it - but don't intend to stop trying until I feel we've done all we can to maintain harmony.
post #7 of 36
Thread Starter 
Awesome stuff, thanks! :
post #8 of 36
google 'greenwash'!!!! ive been thinking about these things for a while now ... i am not always successful at living simply, but oh well, at least i try...
i agree with everything that has been said, except one...
i no longer buy used things... i buy locally or at least us made if i can, i my little personal attempt to stimulate economy , used things are definetely greener, but its not helping anyone, so i do buy new if i can get it locally...


Quote:
Originally Posted by magstphil View Post
Yes! This is a major issue for me with the "green movement". All it is is pushing products which takes away form the real issues in our world.

I have known people who have been convinced they needed to get rid of their entire wardrobe and replace it with "green" clothing because they felt guilty about their old stuff.
post #9 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnaNova View Post
i agree with everything that has been said, except one...
i no longer buy used things... i buy locally or at least us made if i can, i my little personal attempt to stimulate economy , used things are definetely greener, but its not helping anyone, so i do buy new if i can get it locally...
I think it's great that you use your dollars to vote for local/US made products - that's very necessary and admirable. I would respectfully disagree that buying used doesn't help anyone, though. As a general rule, we shop at charity thrift stores that benefit such persons as disabled veterans, the learning impaired and the homeless.
post #10 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by adlib77 View Post
I think it's great that you use your dollars to vote for local/US made products - that's very necessary and admirable. I would respectfully disagree that buying used doesn't help anyone, though. As a general rule, we shop at charity thrift stores that benefit such persons as disabled veterans, the learning impaired and the homeless.
Yup! And buying used aids everyone in stopping the cycle of consumption which is eating up our planet's resources and making it harder for the poorer countries. Unfortunately the economy is one based on consumption and it is never going to be sustainable that way. We need a shift not to feed it. In the long run it helps more people.
post #11 of 36
I love this thread and i've subbed to it for some more ideas. As far as consuming, I have a hirearchy- I will first try to buy used, but within particular settings, I am trying to teach myself not to buy used just because it is there, and "maybe" we will need it, but to be more picky and get things that are used AND definitely needed. If I am thrifting and can't find something after three tries, I then go online or to a couple of good local green stores that I know of- always mindful of supporting WHAMS and American companies. When I have exhausted my search, and I know it is something pressing then I will look over my options. This is all quicker than it sounds, since I am a master thrifter and have been scoring for years. I also give to friends, freecycle and local charities. The outfit Dd wore yesterday-super cute and 100% cotton made in USA was thrifted for my oldest Dd, worn by the Dd's of two different friends and passed back for Dd#2, who will happily enjoy wearing it this summer until she outgrows it or it is unwearable, and then it will be passed on or cut down for cleaning cloths.
post #12 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamimapster View Post
The outfit Dd wore yesterday-super cute and 100% cotton made in USA was thrifted for my oldest Dd, worn by the Dd's of two different friends and passed back for Dd#2, who will happily enjoy wearing it this summer until she outgrows it or it is unwearable, and then it will be passed on or cut down for cleaning cloths.
This is how stuff gets used in our house, too! A lot of the prints on the girls' clothes are too cute not to make into something else. I'm thinking about saving a lot of them to make quilts for them when they're older.
post #13 of 36
Still thinking... I am not inherently against consumption but we clearly have a balance problem here with major over consumption and a failure to produce more than we consume.

The idea that food must be as cheap as possible at the expense of those growing it is one thing that really bothers me. Right now money for us is very scarce but in as much as I am able, I try to buy locally and from places where I know the employees are making more than minimum wage.

Pretty much everything but our computer and beds are used. My kids get some new clothes from relatives for birthdays but most of it comes from the Goodwill or my mil's flea market. Ya know, my husband spoke to a guy at the Goodwill and he said they get so many donations that from the time you drop it off, to the time it hits the floor, it could be 6 months to a year. And so much of it I buy there is nearly new. I think if we stopped producing clothing today, it could possibly be years before we actually ran out of it.

AnnaNova has somewhat of a point. I agree in America we have thrift shops set up that put money back into our economy. But I've read that we are dumping so much of our used clothing into other countries that we are hurting their economies because the local women who would normally make these items and sell them, can't compete with free.

I hate commercial tv. We don't have ours connected to anything but the kids still see it at grandma's. We're working on that.

We do cloth diapers and try to potty train early and I use cloth pads.

I am learning to make my own stuff - sewing, knitting, cooking, gardening.

We do recycle, but I am not sure that is a permanent solution. I would really like it if it were possible to go back to the glass bottle/deposit system but I guess that would require a major change in our food system. We try to take our bags to the store and I need to get some for the produce as well.

This family http://www.pathtofreedom.com is very encouraging!
post #14 of 36
Thread Starter 
How is everyone doing?
post #15 of 36
We use cloth diapers (LOVE them. Would never switch back to sposies b/c of costs and the smell!)

All of DD's toys and clothes are either gifts from family or used. In fact, most of our clothes are really old stuff from thrift shops.

Every single time I watch TV (trying to cut down personally), I always fastforward through the commercials. I have no use for advertisements that are going to make my daughter scream at me to buy her useless crap. Also, they get in the way of my shows.

If I want something, I usually won't buy it unless I can find it on Freecycle

I watch most of my programs on the internetz.

Cooking big batches of meals really save me time and energy, so I'm a big fan of that.

" Originally Posted by fruitfulmomma View Post
No takers yet? Hmm... interesting topic.

We are on a similar journey, I suspect. I'll try to jot down more specifics later, but one thing that really bugged me a couple of weeks ago was picking up a "green" guide and basically it seemed to be filled with ideas on how to continue being a mindless consumerist but feel better about your choices."

YES. THIS. While I think saving the world's important, buying expensive 'green' products are becoming a fad which really turns me off because it's ofte unethical attempt to exploit our concerns.
post #16 of 36
This is such a fabulous thread! My husband and I were sitting on the porch tonight discussing this very thing - and how consumerism is at the root of so many problems in our world, from unlivable wages to pollution. It is so important to take a step back and be aware of our actions and their consequences.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fruitfulmomma View Post
We do recycle, but I am not sure that is a permanent solution. I would really like it if it were possible to go back to the glass bottle/deposit system but I guess that would require a major change in our food system.
We do have a glass bottle system with the milk we get from a local farm store! We return our empties every time we go. Sad as it is, I can't see it being widespread because most people seem to value convenience above all things, and honestly, remembering to bring the empties up is a pain sometimes. I think our society really needs to rethink our values before we could see the general population willing to go out of their way for something like this.
post #17 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by EyesOfTheWorld View Post
We do have a glass bottle system with the milk we get from a local farm store! We return our empties every time we go. Sad as it is, I can't see it being widespread because most people seem to value convenience above all things, and honestly, remembering to bring the empties up is a pain sometimes. I think our society really needs to rethink our values before we could see the general population willing to go out of their way for something like this.
We do this with some of the farmers at the farmers' market. We buy honey and eggs there and always bring back our jars and egg cartons. I agree that it's unlikely to become widespread.

I find myself getting sort of excited about the economy's state right now. Dh and I aren't big consumers. We have no credit, so we don't use it. We try to make or fix stuff before buying new. I'm even rethinking my sewing projects (in part because of this thread) to use mostly repurposed fabric. These are things that were done in the Depression.

I read an article recently about neighborhoods that are starting to chip in to buy big ticket items for the community's use. Instead of everyone buying a lawnmower, the neighborhood would pitch in to buy one for everyone to share and everyone would pitch in for maintenance, etc. I also love the idea of tool libraries.
post #18 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by spookyblue View Post

We are on a similar journey, I suspect. I'll try to jot down more specifics later, but one thing that really bugged me a couple of weeks ago was picking up a "green" guide and basically it seemed to be filled with ideas on how to continue being a mindless consumerist but feel better about your choices."
[/I]
YES. THIS. While I think saving the world's important, buying expensive 'green' products are becoming a fad which really turns me off because it's ofte unethical attempt to exploit our concerns.
ITA.
Someone gave us some hand me down toys and in the mix was a happy meal toy. Guess what it was? A recycling truck. How flipping ridiculous is that? Plastic throw away toy made out to be a "green" product for your kid. It made me want to vomit.
post #19 of 36
This post was made in response to a post that was deleted - that's why it makes no sense.

The book does sound interesting. I find it important to note that the author has 2 children of his own, so I'm assuming the argument is not to not have children, but rather have fewer of them?

I can say I will keep the ones I have, thanks. Ha! Not that you asked, but our situation is 5 children among 6 parents total (blended families). We decided not to have more because of overconsumption concerns. In the meantime, we're teaching the ones we have to use less.
post #20 of 36

A few things:

-Put on your media blinders. Turn off your tv, radio, cancel your paper.

-Stop using federal reserve notes (money), notes are slaving tools of debt. Barter, trade, exchange.

-Support local business, get to know them as people with heart and stop supporting faceless corporations.

-Grown your own food. Convert your lawn into prime agricultural land.

-Know and exercise your rights and liberties. thinkfree.ca in Canada.

-Opt out of the oil machine. No car, no oil heaters, no plastic.

-Unschooling for the whole family.


Edited by ComaWhite - 10/16/11 at 9:34pm
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