During the week, I dropped my step-daughter off at the Metro Centre in Newcastle, on her way back to New Zealand. It’s a massive shopping centre with ten thousands car parks. I’d never been there before and I can swear I’ll never go there again. I felt physically ill by the shop-a-holic fever which swept through the place. I know Christmas is coming up, but there was something else in the air...almost a fear that the world would end, and if only, IF ONLY, they could buy just one more thing, it might save them.
I pointed out to my daughters that almost all the things for sale would end up in a landfill and not readily decompose ~ except things from the bookshop.
Our culture raises babies on fast food (formula) and weans them onto more consumerism. Every baby I saw in that shopping centre was stuck in a pram, and had a dummy in its mouth ~ a bit of plastic which will sit in landfills for up to 450 years. What sort of children are we raising?
Today’s a celebration for those who’d like to show a little more respect for the planet ~ it’s called BUY NOTHING DAY. Just 20% of the world’s population consume 80% of our natural resources. Where's the fairness in that?
Everything we purchase should have us questioning whether we really need it, who has produced (that is, was it made ethically, through child labour, virgin forest destruction etc), how will it impact on the environment?, etc.
Like many people, I can get quite frustrated with the cost of ‘living’ and, indeed, living in a consumerist culture. I was sharing with another mother the other day that the best things in life are free. I wouldn’t swap the love in my family for any amount of money. There are some days when I swear I could just reach my hand out and 'touch' love in the air. My daughters know we are rich beyond measure.
Buy Nothing Day is about developing a CONSUMER CONSCIENCE. Being eco-minded isn’t just about recycling. In fact, recycling is pretty much a last ditch effort. Our focus should be on ‘do I really need this?’, and if I do, then can it be reused.
I recently *needed* some more bookshelves and for years I've made do with a hard dining chair for my computer area. Within days of being on freecycle, I received a very comfortable computer chair and three next-to-new bookshelves, as well as a piano stool which I’d been seeking out for quite a while!
We need to move away from our culture’s obsession with everything we own being brand spanking new, in the latest colours, or twinned with what some celebrity owns. We need, in short, to stop being so shallow.
Of course, you COULD buy my new book (not today though, get it on Monday!!), or get your library to stock it so loads of mums and midwives, and with luck, health visitors, can read it! Let's get babes back on the breast and away from all that crap in a can. Let's save this planet from the formula milk industry and all the pollution it causes.
The Drinks Are On Me (everything your mother never told you about breastfeeding) as recommended by The Independent on November 13th...now available from www.artofchange.co.uk Enjoy!