Well done, you! I have been doing some serious thinking about why our family is doing this this year and why I am writing a blog after being passionately anti-blog for so long. I have many thoughts on both matters and but I've been waiting for the actual answer to come to me so I can stop thinking about it and get on with it. Thank goodness for Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir!
Have you heard of this guy? I came across him a few weeks ago when we first started talking about our project. He's an anti-consumer activist who has an evangelical delivery style. He and his Choir tour around the country putting on shows and campaigning their causes. Last night I watched his movie, What Would Jesus Buy? (Produced by Morgan Spurlock, Super Size Me guy) on Netflix instant watch. He's not a Christian, but he's trying to get people to think about Christmas, what the message of Christ really was and to stop shopping. He may be a touch irreverent, but I think he's clever and the choir's songs are witty and fun! The movie reminded me of some things and helped me solidify why I'm doing this and why a blog.
Why I'm Doing This
I asked K why we're doing this and he responded that for him it's not so much to save money or to be ecologically conscious, but he wants to purify himself from influences (The Man, greed) that get him off the path of what life is for and who he is meant to become. I wholeheartedly agree with that, but I'm going to add more.
I think it's always so interesting how there are almost always two camps to politics and issues like these. There is the camp that wants to save the earth and protect human rights and there is the camp that is focused on saving the individuals' souls and spirituality or religiousity. I believe that these two camps should not and cannot be separated.
For the most part, we have no idea what affect our purchases have on the earth or the people who are making them. I think it's pretty clear what will happen to the earth if we keep producing and consuming at the rate we are going, I mean, we've all seen Wall-E, but we don't understand our individual impact. And most of us have no idea that the shirt we're wearing made in Bangladesh was probably made by a child existing in daily misery to satisfy our thrill for a great deal and a full closet. Unfortunately, the reality of our world today is that many of the comforts that we enjoy come at the expense and suffering of many people. When we consume without thought and AWAREness (I do read your blog sometimes!) we are hurting the earth, we are hurting people (often children) and how can we do this without it having an impact on our soul?
So, I am doing this to consume less of the earth's resources and reduce waste. If I do have to buy something new, I'm going to try to buy locally made or buy fair trade items to support the rights of people to fair wages and working conditions. I think that being more aware of these things and doing my part will be good for my soul. And then, of course, I just don't want to be driven by the need to buy and have.
Why the Blog
At first I didn't want to blog. Then I thought, "okay, let's just do it, you and me. No one will read it anyway." But then I thought, "Well what's the point then?" You and I can have these conversations on the phone and I can get a lot of other things done at the same time. If I'm going to take the time to blog, I want it to do some good! I guess that movie woke up the sleeping activist in me. I really care about this stuff and I want other people to care too! We all need to care!
I am usually very quiet about my personal convictions and beliefs. I hold them closely and protect them. I get really passionate about things but I reign myself in when it comes to sharing those things. It seems like a lot of the time when people are passionate, they get labeled as "radical" or "fanatical". Also, it makes people uncomfortable when they hear about ugliness and that they may be playing a part in it. They'd rather not listen to that. Am I more concerned about people and their well being, or am I more concerned about what people think of me? Maybe it's time I stopped caring about what people think of me.
I've read some books and articles, seen some videos, I know only a tiny bit about this topic. This year I'm going to learn more. I'm going to learn about what products and corporations to avoid and which to support. I'm going to share what I learn here about how to live simply, frugally, sustainably and with awareness of others.
So what do you say? Let's be activists too!!
P.S. I promise my next post will be shorter!
We don't actually advocate going without socks! We are two sisters with a common goal: 2011 is our year to step away from cultural messages that try to force us to define ourselves as consumers. To that end, we are committed to spend this year buying only what we need, and to buying used items whenever possible.
We decided to use this forum to document our experiences, share successes and challenges, and support each other in our efforts.