From the energy, trees, water and other resources needed to manufacture cards... to the pollution and carbon footprint involved in delivering them... to the waste of disposing of millions upon millions of them every year... isn't it time the holiday greeting card died a quiet, dignified death?
Yes I know, techies/geeks can adjust shutdown options on their computers to save energy. I do it too. This application tracks how many computers are using their program and the net energy savings in terms of KWhs, gallons of oil [barrels would be better - divide by 55] and the number of trees needed to balance the now saved carbon emissions.
As a beta program, right now the stats are basic and don't include the number of computers that team and/or companies have using the program, but I have a fix for that. See below.
Tomorrow, February 1, support this French initiative to give the planet a rest from electrical energy use for a full five minutes - between 10:55 am and 11:00 am. Participate in the biggest mobilization of Citizens Against Global Warming! The Alliance for the Planet [a group of environmental associations] is calling on all Planet Earth citizens to create 5 minutes of electrical rest for the planet. http://www.lalliance.fr People all over the world will turn off their lights and electrical appliances on the first of February 2007, between 1.55 pm and 2.00 pm in New York, 18.55 for London, and 19.55 for Paris, Bruxelles, and Italy. 1.55pm in Ottawa, and 10.55am on the Pacific Coast of North America. This is not just about saving 5 minutes worth of electricity; it's about getting the attention of the media, politicians, and ourselves. Why five minutes of electrical down time for the planet on February 1? Because this is the day when the new UN report on global climate change will come out in Paris. This event affects us all, involves us all, and provides an occasion to show how important an issue global warming is to us. If we all participate, this action can have real media and political weight.
A show on this weekend that may be of interest to consumers (that's everyone) and musical theatre lovers (okay, not everyone):
The Church of Pointless Consumerism Friday, December 15 thru Sunday, December 17, 8pm Cambrian Hall - 215 East 17th Ave. at Main in Vancouver tickets $10-$15 (sliding scale)
It's being put on by The Work Less Party, who promote the idea that we should "Work Less, Consume Less, Live More", and is described as a "hilarious, satirical, musical theatre extravaganza" and "a christmas pageant that will have viewers on the edge of their pews" (does that sell it to ya?)
"Traveling evangelist, Peter Proffet the Prophet of Profit, along with his gospel choir are fully prepared to storm the city of Vancouver with the good words of Consumerism, Production, and more, more, MORE! The message will stir the congregation of faithful customers, and it comes with a lifetime guarantee of conversion for the *gasp* skeptics among us.
With wild sing-a-long musical numbers, dance routines and faith healing, The Church of Pointless Consumerism comes in a sexy package of enlightening, entertaining, down-home religious rejuvenation."
I'm the consumer queen. You know how everyone has one weakness or another where they overspend? For some people it's clothes, for others food, books, music, electronics, home furnishings, kids' stuff, pet stuff -- everyone has some area where they overaccumulate.
For me it's ALL of those categories. Which is why I find myself thinking more and more about my personal consumption and how it conflicts with my values and beliefs about social and environmental sustainability.
Buy Nothing Day, the brainchild of artist Ted Dave, was first organized in Vancouver in September 1992 as "a day for society to examine the issue of over-consumption." The campaign challenges consumers to go a day without buying anything -- "a 24-hour consumer detox." I remember being at the Railway Club one year on BND, when it was suggested that we wait to pay our tab till after midnight -- beer, after all, is something to buy (the irony was not lost on us that if we stayed later, we'd consume more.)
As soon as one heavily-marketed holiday is over, consumers are bombarded with the next. In Canada, it seems the Christmas decorations go up in stores before the Halloween candy gets discounted. South of the border, today, the day after American Thanksgiving, marks the launch of the Christmas shopping season. It is known as "Black Friday" because it is the point in the year when retailers' books move from the red to the black. The holiday season is often looked upon as make-or-break time, and can account for up to half of retailers' annual profits.
The cliche that money doesn't buy happiness is often ignored in the exodus to the nearest Walmart or local mall. It could be because people are immersed in a culture that sees the accumulation of goods as the definition of success. Media images barrage us daily with products and lifestyles of opulence and money to burn. This is something that needs to change, indeed must change, for our planet to survive. The world cannot sustain every human in the world driving their own car, for example, or owning their own monster house. The legacy we leave behind for our children is at stake.
I want to minimize my consumption of material goods to only the basics of urban life. By doing this, I can reduce my personal footprint on this planet and thus have a positive impact on our environment. I can also save money and donate it to environmental