Saturday, November 24, 2007


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 available from Enjoy!


flutterby said...

couple of things from me.
we wanted to do buy nothing day but unfortunately it was the only opportunity for my other half to have help building a wooden oven for Boo's birthday pres (christmas eve). OH isn't very DIY friendly so friend came down to help out and we thought all wood would need to be purchased for this. we had tried the local wood recycling project but they didn't have anything OH thought suitable (but that's cos OH is DIY incompetent...). luckily friend came down with right sort of sized offcuts from previous projects he'd completed and all that was required for purchase was 2 hinges and a small pack of screws. so, we didn't quite succeed but did manage to buy almost nothing, and it is for a homemade present made from offcuts and OH did go to the local independent DIY retailer for the bits.
2nd part, i heard a very sad story from a friend whose sister is very anti-formula. i don't know the ins and outs in detail but sister struggled and struggled for about 8 weeks with BF, getting into a bigger and bigger state, mentally and physically, baby was losing weight or not putting any on. she's now switched to formula. mentally she's not a huge amount better off as she cries whenever she feeds him but he is putting on some weight now, she is sleeping a little bit more now (medically assisted...) and physically her body is recovering. myabe some local support could have solved this before it got so bad she had to be on medication and feed her baby something that makes her cry everytime she does it. maybe enough milk banks or some shared feeding would have made her feel a whole lot better.

not a whole lot of structure to my comment, sorry, just wanted to get them both down.

Linda said...

You're absolutely right, but I think it's going to take a major societal shift in consciousness for most people to begin doing this. For most, I think, it's not good enough that it be ethically right. It also has to be realistic. They see rampant consumerism going on all around them and conclude that their little drop in the bucket isn't going to make any difference at all, so they don't bother. We have to get people to the point, I think, where they see it as valuable to them personally and spiritually to uphold this ethic, regardless of what the rest of the world is doing.

Michelle said...

Hi Veronika

I just wanted to say congratulations on a fanastic book. I'm really enjoying it and will recommend it to anyone I know who is or thinking about breastfeeding. It's also going to be great to have to wave information in that face of those who question my breastfeeding my two year old daughter.

flutterby said...

i asked someone the other day how come they thought they had the right to question why i was breastfeeding my 23month old whilst 27weeks pregnant with my next child when i had held my tongue over them feeding their baby formula. we had spoken about breast versus bottle before the babies were born and so i knew her position and she knew mine and i knew she wouldn't budge. even when her baby was born premature. i could have expressed my concern and disgust on weekly basis but i didn't. why is it ok to feed a baby crap but not to breastfeed a toddler, particularly one with a heart condition that needs all the help they can get!!