S is for Shopping

"Spring Rain" 24"x30" copyright Debra Myers Woodward
“Spring Rain”
24″x30″
copyright Debra Myers Woodward

Today is Earth Day, possibly my favorite day of the year. I am particularly fond of this little corner of the universe and all those who inhabit it.

This morning I received an email from a certain retail establishment that I frequent.  The subject said, “Celebrate Earth Day with Free Shipping.”  And the obvious ridiculousness of that prompted this post.

How about we celebrate Earth Day by NOT shopping at all? I recently took a quiz online (here) to see how many earth’s it would take to support the whole population if everyone in the world lived like me.  I live in North America, so I wasn’t surprised to see that it would require 4.7 earths.  This was not an encouraging number (and that means that Mars alone isn’t going to help much if we were thinking we could just colonize another planet.) In this article, I learned that Earth Overshoot Day was in August of 2015–the day that the 7.1 billion people on this planet passed the mark of consuming more resources than our planet can sustain!

So it seems essential that I take steps to improve my footprint on the environment. Pollution from the constant growth in manufacturing goods (not to mention the extraction of materials from the earth) is causing great harm on the environment, regardless of your position on global warming.  Whatever we can do to lessen our impact will help Her to breathe a little more easily and allow us to live on it for a longer time.

I believe this starts with our thoughts, as all things do! So before I reach for something sweet, for example, I ask myself, why do I want this? Am I trying to sweeten a feeling in me? Do I feel sad or upset or lonely?  The same is true about our “need” to purchase things we don’t actually need.  Its worthwhile to ask ourselves do we really need this? Or are we filling an emptiness inside?  Is the rush of walking through a beautiful store and choosing things distracting us from something we find unattractive?

Sitting with these questions for a bit (it won’t kill us and in fact, might help us!) instead of compulsively buying more stuff is the best thing we can do for our home, planet earth.  And perhaps, with all of that extra time and mind-space freed up, we might come up with new technologies that improve the environment while providing food, clean water and sanitary living conditions for everyone on the planet.

5 thoughts on “S is for Shopping

  1. Good thinking, SS! Not so prone to buy stuff anymore. And always love recycling stuff I already have through mostly giving it away for someone else to use. Hoping that helps a little. And yes, being very aware of my use of natural resources.

  2. Thank you for sharing such a thought-provoking post.

    I try to reduce my carbon footprint as much as possible though there’s always more I could be doing. I don’t drive and tend to walk to as many places as I can. It’s only a small thing but it’s definitely a start.

    It’s sad what humans have done to this beautiful planet. I fear for the world future generations will be left with.

    1. Thank you David. I appreciate your comment. I have a lot that I could improve! And its something I am really giving some thought to. I have a friend who I could call a “frugalist” because he takes it so seriously. And he leads a rich and rewarding life. I’ve learned from him that it can be a lovely way to live.

  3. Great post Debra. I hate when companies try to take advantage of a day like Earth Day for their sales. Instead of shopping, I donated to my favorite environmental organizations.
    It is a constant thing on my mind as I know my own impacts are not neutral, but if everyone could start thinking about it everyday, maybe it will have an impact.

    1. I imagine your work makes it painfully evident the effect of consumerism! I know I find a lot of trash in the environment when I go out schlepping around in it. And I agree–every little thing helps, especially keeping it in the forefront of thought. Thanks for coming back so often Mark! 🙂

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