I’m kind of obsessed with consumption.
One of the best parts of my job is that I get to teach classes on the things I’m obsessed with, providing me a group of bright conversants with whom to engage in invigorating discussion on the topic. It’s pretty ideal.
So just think, every single thing that you’re wearing, every food that passed your lips today, came from somewhere. Someone grew it, harvested it, manufactured it, designed it, and sold it. Who were these people? And what happened to their well-being in the process? Were natural resources used sustainably? If what you consumed was an animal, how did it spend its days? How has every stage of this product been shaped by government policy? How did its marketing messages affect its audiences’ sense of contentment and happiness?
And no matter how much joy this thing might have brought you today, you’re likely going to get sick of it. Or it will break. And then what happens? It magically disappears on garbage day. But where does it go? And what’s the environmental impact, even if it is recycled? And the impact on your bank account now that you’re on to new consuming? And what good could that money have done in the world if it hadn’t been spent on more stuff?
See? It’s a fascinating subject.
For one of the class projects, each student designed a lifestyle experiment to explore consumption from the inside out. They need to stick with it for four weeks and are blogging about it each week. I’m excited. They’re excited. (And maybe a little nervous, too.)
Here are some of their blogs:
Lifestyle Experiment: Disconnected: limiting social media consumption
30 Day Minimalism Challenge: simplifying life in 30 (easy? or not so easy?) steps
Money Memories: using money for experiences instead of objects
Reluctant Vegan: skip vegetarianism and head right to veganism
Kale Yeah I’m Vegan: one month, no animals
Vegan Trial Blog: four weeks without animal product consumption
Vegan for a Month: so many vegans!
pescawhatblog: fish. no burgers.
Pescetarianism: Will It Change Me?: no meat but fish for a month
Why So Much Plastic?: Goodbye, single use. Hello reusables!
OrganizedMess2016: using the Marie Kondo method to declutter and organize
So read through, do some thinking, and maybe get inspired. That’s what I’ll be doing, too.