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  1. #11
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elaur View Post
    This made me think of a story I read in that book, More with Less. A lot of her stories come from her experience as part of the Mennonite central committee (a relief agency.) She said once she talked to a man who had one nice white work shirt. He washed it every day and wore it to work every day. She asked why he didn't buy another. He said he didn't want his second shirt to give him an attitude of being better than others. Can you imagine living with one work shirt?

    Lark: The fact that I was quoting a movie in this thread didn't escape me, that's why I used the word "ironically."
    Yeah, its a bit of a catch 22 isnt it? I've thought about this for ages, probably from when I was about 14 or even slightly younger than that.

    I remember from a young age wanting to be a socialist and also wanting to be really 100% consistent to my principles, eventually I had to give up. I dont binge buy if I can help it, if I do my worst excess is generally books, mostly second hand or bargain discard/end mark type books.

    Wasnt trying to catch you out. Awesome thread topic

  2. #12
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elaur View Post
    Can you imagine living with one work shirt?"
    Not really, since I always tend to screw up my shirts somehow. It's inevitable.

    I don't really want to be better than anyone though. I like style, but that need not always be expensive. What I had more in mind, as far as acquisitions go, is a giant tub. Like Scarface had. I'm too tall for mine. Can't really fit anyone else in there either.

  3. #13
    Reptilian Snuggletron's Avatar
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    I bite my greed in the bud by being too lazy to spend my money on useless things I don't need.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elaur View Post
    Anyone else in a quest to move away from consumerism?


    It is damn hard, though. I've never been much of a shopping spree kinda person, but lately I've seriously tried to figure out how I could drop out. The way I see it, the economy is going to crash spectacularly during my lifetime. First I didn't take it too seriously, but what we've seen for the past couple of years has made it clear. The economists are flying blind.

    But how do I drop out? I can't grow food without land. I can't get land without money. I can't get money without work. I am as hooked as everyone else. The pain is that I see it so clearly that almost any kind of job is supporting the system, and it is the same with food. I am quite sure that I couldn't even make it on my own even if I had some land. It takes a village...

    I think that the best move would be to move to an ecovillage and learn organic farming. I doubt I could do that either without money. And I don't know if I could do it anyways. It's a big thing. But, overall I am quite happy with how I live. I don't buy stuff that much, actually I don't remember what was the last thing I bought. I try to eat less meat, and if possible I eat local food. I live with a bunch of people so I think it cuts down the heating compared to living alone. And there are a lot of appliances I don't need to buy, since someone has them already. Often we cook something together. That is also more friendly for the environment than heating the oven many times a day. I am thinking of having a small garden on my balcony, so I could grow at least some of my food. I don't do any of these things thinking like it will help anything or that I really HAVE to be extremely strict with myself. I will buy a steak and have a bbq, but I don't need to eat meat every day.

    Actually, I think one of the biggest things motivating me to live cheap is the feeling that the system fucked me up. It is like the cornerstone of EU to keep the economy growing at all costs. Then they have the nerve to talk about environmental values. Ok, I know it isn't the politicians fault, since they didn't invent the system and it's been working all right, but hey, someone needs to pull the plug before it crashes. It just seems like a dead end in every direction. The economy is running the show, not politicians. I don't see it as such a horrible scenario if we had most of the people growing food for themselves. Even if we could keep the growth going on forever, I don't really see where we are supposed to get with it...

  5. #15
    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    oooh... that reminds me of my chicken experiments that I was talking about in my blog... one chicken, 5 days of meals, and for me $20 (the midwest can be CHEAP!)... it's both economical and lower impact environmentally (I read something in National Geographic about which foods take the most resources to produce a while back chickens are low on the list!)

    Also planting a garden, buying a bicycle to travel around with and I've always bought my clothes second hand... I'm death on clothing, so buying new never made sense to me

    I've made it a goal lately to buy more local produce, more sustainable goods and not to drive if I'm within walking distance- mostly for reasons of vanity, but in part out of concern for the earth in general
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

  6. #16
    Senior Member LeafAndSky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elaur View Post
    Anyone else in a quest to move away from consumerism?
    Yes, a simple liver here. (That sounds weird.) And thanks everyone for the links to books, movies, blogs, websites. Lark, that's the second time I've seen you link to that book by Foley, looks good. Mister Eyebrows, the Leo Babauta links are great, thanks.

    Elaur, I began my experiment in simpler living last September, moving from a 4 bedroom 2 1/2 bath house to a 1 bedroom apartment as part of a divorce. It seemed like the perfect opportunity.

    - No tv but do have internet and phone. Doing more reading (mostly library).
    - Didn't bring the piano, have an alto recorder and a borrowed dulcimer.
    - No microwave, just use the oven/stove. One heat source is enough!
    - No toaster, toast is fine made in a cast iron pan. I use that pan for a lot of things.
    - Am only putting on the walls things made by people I know (turning out to be a wonderful choice), and several of the other things around are handmade by relatives or friends.
    - A friend living on disability checks introduced me to thrift stores for clothing. I never thought I'd do that, seemed creepy to wear strangers' clothes, but she convinced me to try it. A really good, barely worn sweater, $2 on a day they had a sale. I'm a convert.
    - Car has close to 100,000 miles, have decided to keep it, and keep it running, for another 100,000.

    That's all I can think of at the moment.

    About the microwave, one guest enthusiastically said food tastes so much better from the oven. A longer-term guest had a hard time coping with the 'kitchen situation'. As for me, I haven't missed it. It's enjoyable to be more hands-on with cooking, more focused or caring. I try to eat at the table, too, even when alone, and really taste what I'm eating and drinking.

    Someone sent me Food, Inc. last month. If anyone wants motivation for changing their food habits, this is it. I still eat out, but now I'm buying all organic at the grocery store. The first time I did that (had a cart full of organic-only), it felt very right, and I continue to do it. It's not as expensive as I thought, plus I waste less, being more aware of what's actually in that fridge drawer.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeafAndSky View Post
    Someone sent me Food, Inc. last month. If anyone wants motivation for changing their food habits, this is it.
    True... It's just absurd...

  8. #18
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    Many of our consumerist tendencies not only come from the structure of the economy and the strategies deployed by our providers, but also by our ingrained habits as animals. We have natural hoarding tendencies that, under normal circumstances, would benefit us in times of famine and drought. But, in our environment (particularly in the U.S. and the Western front), rich in resource, we have been gorged like a tick sucking from, not a horse, but some weird IV thing. We find sustenance by accumulating power, and the greatest powers in the contemporary world are not nuclear, but monetary. It's a vicious cycle that's rooted in the nature of the beast, and it's not going to stop until the Western world starts to decline. It's likely that we'll see at least one major sign that sets this process in motion, if we haven't already. It may have been the Industrial Revolution as a whole.

    As far as the pragmatic - find things that will last you a long time. Most of our economy runs on disposables or things that eventually become obsolete. We pay for maintenance, when we could be learning to maintain our own possessions. If everyone did this, it would cripple our economy in ways that I can't foresee. Most things are automated, like washing your clothes, driving, building houses, etc. With this automation comes a need for resources that siphon our supplies as a race, particularly in the form of oil and other fossil fuels. This, in turn, has effects like this recent oil leakage off the coast of Mexico. Then the fish die, we taint the environment and screw the fish economy down south. Louisiana thrives on fish!

    We have a butt load of problems. Many people are seizing up because they want to be comfortable, or they use religion as an excuse not to be more progressive. Because, why not be slovenly when the rapture's gonna come, right? Well, I think it would be wiser to invest in this life and make things easier for future generations, because there's at least evidence that they have potential. That they exist.

  9. #19
    RETIRED CzeCze's Avatar
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    To an extent, things make you happy. But after that point - it doesn't matter how much more 'stuff' you get.

    Consumerism and capitalism are tied together, right now it's the only trajectory for capitalism. As a business, you are told that each year you MUST make more money. You MUST sell more cars. You MUST open more stores. You MUST save more money. I think long ago...this kind of ambitious, expansive mindset could have worked as part of a larger system because it was simply impossible to spread and saturate through the whole world.

    But, just like how humanity's slow metabolisms and desire to consume as much sugar/salt/fat as we could get our hairy knuckling dragging hands is now sabotaging us BIG TIME in the 'developed world' (with exploding obesity rates and the related health issues) so is the desire to consume things.

    Either you stay a successful small mom and pop shop, or you get gobbled up by a corporation, or you keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger until you explode in global corporate form. It's really strange. There is no business model for the middle ground.

    Capitalism and big business have really exploited a few psychological/evolutionary achille's heels and made us unquestioningly want and feel we 'need' more and more and more and more.

    There's also the theory of 'coming from a place of lack' which I can see. My friend was explained one theory on the origins of European Imperialism saying how periods of famine and disease and decimation had instilled an anxiety and place of 'lack' in the European mindset. So it led to imperialism and colonization and countries had to subjugate and exploit other nations until they were tapped dry and in a sense repeat the cycle of desolation in the other land that was experienced before in Europe. It also created an almost blind desire to take and take and take in order to appease the insecurity (that never goes away) from having little. I didn't really agree. But, it is one theory.
    “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.” ― Oscar Wilde

    "I'm outtie 5000" ― Romulux

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  10. #20
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    I live very modestly. I don't like clutter or waste of any kind. I care about the environment and what happens to it, especially water and air. Yet, that's not why I'm minimalist. I just find overindulgence to be incredibly distasteful.

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