Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Today I’m thankful for simplicity. It’s been very interesting to observe our culture over the last several years. On one hand, we are producing and buying more than we ever have before in the history of the planet. Buy whatever is newest, whatever is next. Buy the next video game system, the latest cell phone, a new shirt or a bigger TV when what we have now or what we could buy used would still be great. All of this buying junks up our homes and fills our municipal dumps faster than a Twitter update.

So ... simultaneously, we have the green movement. Eat local, consume less, reduce plastics, reduce waste, recycle, reuse, be responsible, make do in order to save our health and our existence. This “new idea” means that we buy less, have less, simplify.

Now this, of course, is occurring at precisely the same time economic pundits are saying “stimulate the economy!” In order to preserve jobs, we consumers need to spend, must buy stuff, keep consuming. Then we are back to our poisonous manufacturing and fickle appreciation that ends our polluting our air, water and soil.

Sometimes I get really confused. Do you?

So I’m thankful when I see another with self-control to be simple, when I see someone who knows that shopping isn’t a hobby; a hobby is a hobby. Or when I hear about someone buying used, refurbished or vintage wares. I’m thankful when I see just one dearly loved toy instead of a room exploding with stuff. And how about this simple message to manufacturers:

Make better stuff.

We don’t want the lead paint in our toys made in China nor the melamine in our dog food (also made in China.) I want one phone that will last and last. If you have new technology for a phone, make the phone software upgradeable instead of a whole new plastic system. Make clothing that washes well. Make lawn furniture that can last for more than just a season. Make your product beautiful, like the Italians do.

And here’s the simple, self-correction that would happen: Better, more beautiful things might cost a little more. Then we’d have to save and really think about our purchases, which would help curb needless spending. Then we wouldn’t be able to afford as much junk, which would keep our landfills smaller, our houses/yards cleaner and our savings accounts fatter. This would also have manufacturers making less, which would consume less raw material, saving us noxious pollution. And with less stuff to stifle us or to distract us, you know what we have? More time.

I’m thankful for simple solutions. ;)

And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

What are you thankful for today?

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