Archive for the ‘The Compact’ Category

Pledges to consume less are consuming me.  Everywhere I look, someone’s giving up buying clothes for a year, shopping at the Evil Empire for a month, or buying anything ever.  I feel like I want to do a little experiment of my own and blog about it.  Why do I feel this need?  Honestly, the amount of waste produced in this country makes me a little ill.  When customers at the restaurant ask for 2 Styrofoam boxes so that they can keep their small amounts of food separate, the waste makes me cringe.  I schlep reusable bags to the grocery store, and I only bag wet, leafy produce.  I stood alone in a grocery store aisle, and I looked at all the prepackaged food and realized that all the containers were landfill-bound, and I felt a little ill and panicky.  I want to do a little more to waste a little less.

Beyond the material waste that ends up in the landfill, I am bothered by the spend-work-spend-work-spend rat race we seem to find ourselves in.  I’m not a big shopper, except when it comes to books.  I went to a big chain bookstore to purchase Taking Charge of Your Fertility yesterday, and I tortured myself by walking up and down the aisles looking at wonderful books that I’d love to own.  Maybe that’s how other people feel when they shoe shop?

From a selfish, purely monetary standpoint, I’m interested to see how much money I can save if I purposefully shop less.  I should be starting grad school in the summer, and I won’t be able to work much, if at all, for about a year.  I don’t like to be stressed about money, and sometimes I bring little money crunches on myself by spending too much.

I’ve found some guidelines in The Compact.  A movement that began in San Francisco in 2006, the Compact is a pledge to purchase very little for one year, though some Compacters may continue these spending patterns indefinitely.  According to the GOOD article linked in this paragraph, “The premise was simple: barter, borrow, or buy secondhand for a year-food, drink, health, and safety necessities excluded.”

So, the brakes I bought this year – fine, I needed them to keep other drivers and myself safe.  The secondhand jogging clothes from the thrift store – alright, it was secondhand, so no new waste was created.  The ingredients to make tamales – no problem, it’s food.  The book I bought yesterday?  Not so much.  I suppose I might argue that it was a health necessity, but that would be a pretty big stretch.

I will be an unofficial Compacter starting January 1st, 2011.  I will also write a little more in-depth about the nuances of the Compact and its aims.