Buy something new. I don’t mind. It’s not my choice, it doesn’t impact on my decisions. That’s the great thing about our BNN project – we buy nothing new. It’s pretty cut and dry, it doesn’t have too many grey areas, we can live by that. It doesn’t mean we feel judgemental towards anyone else for their consuming decision making. What it does mean is that we get to show others that buying nothing new is possible, and it also might give people an opportunity to think about their consumption habits in a conscious way. I think, mostly, the buy / sell process is automatic for most people now. We never really thought about it before our first year began. We had started to buy fair trade coffee and avoid products with palm oil. We were becoming more aware of where our food came from. We knew a little about the unethical production of Nikes. We avoided Nestle. If it was a well-publicised boycott, we knew about it. Otherwise, we were a bit mindless when it came to our spending. We also didn’t realise that there were alternatives to consuming.
The thing about becoming a conscious consumer is that it doesn’t mean you have to stop consuming. For us it means buying second hand or not at all. For others it may mean buying fair trade, or from stores that provide something back to communities who need it (think Oxfam shops). For some people it may mean buying locally, or supporting small business. For some people it is about buying Australian (or American or Mexican or wherever you happen to be based) made. For some it is about avoiding purchases that may inadvertently support labour camps or that encourage criminally low wages and the exploitation of children. Some may splurge on high quality household goods, knowing they will (probably) never have to replace them. Some will buy branded clothing that can then be passed on at a fraction of the price to people like us who buy nothing new.
The point I’m making, is that buying nothing new is one way. It’s our way, and we like it. We will probably do it forever.
Either way, I think it’s important that we think about what we’re buying, whether we need it and where is has come from. Don’t just be a cog in the wheel of someone else’s design. Make your own wheel, or become a part of something you believe in. Contribute your hard earned dollars to something that matters.
Well, that’s my 2 cents. It’s about all I have spare…
I was tested this week. I think it’s the first time I have felt really tested since BNN began. I didn’t start 2013 a mad consumer. I’ve never been too interested in brands or status due to stuff. Occasionally it gets me (did I tell you about the Fred Bare cowboy dress I bought Little Fearse for $10?) but mostly I’m more interested in a bargain than a brand.
On Friday a friend took me into two brand name children’s wear shops. Just about every item melted my heart. Knitted jumpers with cute forest animals on the front! Beanies with bunny ears! Ruffle bum footsie pants! Paddington jackets! Onesies with cat prints! Oh, the possibilities.
I had to go to a special place in my mind, promising myself a ‘window shop’ of the children’s clothing section of Ebay when I got home. I can go without trendy or ‘must have’ items of clothing for myself so easily. My style is, well, let’s call it “easy wear with a dash of vintage”. I wear a lot of hand-me-downs. I don’t have to think much about what I put on. If it is comfortable and weather appropriate I’m usually happy. But Little Fearse? You just have to add a ruffle or a pair of ears to almost any of her outfits and she goes from baby to bawwwwwwwwwwwwwby. And I can’t resist the ‘aww’.
See what I mean? Awwww.
Mostly Little Fearse has been dressed in hand-me-downs from her male cousins and a few male and female friends, though she has had the very good fortune of also being lent the most amazing clothing from the above friend who loves buying designer. There is really no way I can repay that generosity because she and I both know that I would never buy those clothes myself, and yet I love them so much. It’s through her willingness to buy them that both Little Fearse and my melty heart benefit.
Luckily we have found a way to make an exchange – I’ve started cooking her meals, something I love doing and she doesn’t. I love the way the world provides symbiotic relationships like this, don’t you?
“Food Fight” by Earth Amplified feat Stic.Man of Dead Prez
Thought provoking music.
I’m glad the the Fearse Clan has really tried to cut out junk food and eat mostly local produce. I hope this makes you think about the way we consume food and question what you allow into your body on a daily basis.
On Friday I visited a shopping centre for the first time this year. My Mum wanted to purchase a car seat for when she is looking after Little Fearse. As we’re keen to keep her rear-facing for as long as possible Mum wanted to get our preferred seat. So, we went to the shopping centre together. I wasn’t personally purchasing the car seat, though it would technically be allowed under clause 1.4:
Anything related to safety (especially for Little Fearse – this includes things like car seats, helmets etc).
We parked at an entrance that leads into the food court and then had to negotiate a short passage of shops to get to Big W. At first I tried not to look. I weaved the pram in and out of other prams and trolleys as fast as the foot traffic would let me. I still saw things though and as I looked at all the stuff, stuff, STUFF I felt a slow burning rage beginning in the pit of my stomach.
I’ll be honest with you. I have never enjoyed spending time at shopping centres and I have often felt a kind of panic after about half an hour. GET ME OUT OF HERE. This was different, though. This was a realisation that what we are doing is going to make so little difference. In this world we are encouraged to buy, to follow trends, to keep up the economy, to spend, to spend, to spend. One tiny little family can’t make a dent in that. Sure, it might make us feel better about ourselves, but we’re not impacting on our world. Not one little bit.
As we headed back out through the food court we were halted by a line at KFC spanning the entire width of food court. The rage began to swell further. If one kind woman hadn’t let me through I would have gone total HULK SMASH on the whole centre.
This is a really good question. What’s going to survive? What weird things are we going to leave behind as a reminder of who we are and what is important to us now? I can hardly imagine how advertising could become more invasive than it is now – is that what we’ll be remembered for?
I’m finding myself becoming really sensitive to advertising because it is all completely irrelevant to me now. I’ve unsubscribed from so many email lists and ‘unliked’ so many FB pages.
But advertising is everywhere, not just the places that we can control. It’s eating us alive.