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Good Stuff? A Consumption Manifesto:
The Top Ten Principles of Good Consumption
Consumption is one of lifes great pleasures. Buying
things we desire, traveling to beautiful places, eating
delectable food: icing on the cake of life. But too often the
effects of our blissful consumption make for a sad story.
05 Giant cars exhaling dangerous exhaust, hog farms pumping
out harmful pollutants, toxic trash pestering poor
neighborhoods none of this if there werent something
But theres no need to trade pleasure for guilt. With
10 thoughtfulness and commitment, consumption can be a force
for good. Through buying what we need, produced the way
we want, we can create the world wed like to live in.
To that end and for the future, a Consumption Manifesto:
Principle One. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. This brilliant triad
15 says it all. Reduce: Avoid buying what you dont need
and when you do get that dishwasher/lawnmower/toilet,
spend the money up front for an efficient model. Re-use:
Buy used stuff, and wring the last drop of usefulness out of
most everything you own. Recycle: Do it, but know that
20 its the last and least effective leg of the triad. (Ultimately,
recycling simply results in the manufacture of more things.)
Principle Two. Stay close to home. Work close to home
to shorten your commute; eat food grown nearby; support
local businesses; join local organizations. All of these will
25 improve the look, shape, smell, and feel of your community.
Principle Three. Internal combustion engines are polluting,
and their use should be minimized. Period.
Principle Four. Watch what you eat. Whenever possible,
avoid food grown with pesticides, in feedlots, or by
30 agribusiness. Its an easy way to use your dollars to vote
against the spread of toxins in our bodies, land, and water.
Principle Five. Private industries have very little incentive
to improve their environmental practices. Our consumption
choices must encourage and support good behavior; our
35 political choices must support government regulation.
Principle Six. Support thoughtful innovations in
manufacturing and production. Hint: Drilling for oil is no
longer an innovation.
Principle Seven. Prioritize. Think hardest when buying
40 large objects; dont drive yourself mad fretting over the small
ones. Its easy to be distracted by the paper bag puzzle,
but an energy-sucking refrigerator is much more worthy of
your attention. (Small electronics are an exception.)
Principle Eight. Vote. Political engagement enables the
45 spread of environmentally conscious policies. Without
public action, thoughtful individuals are swimming
Principle Nine. Dont feel guilty. It only makes you sad.
Principle Ten. Enjoy what you havethe things that are
50 yours alone, and the things that belong to none of us. Both
are nice, but the latter are precious. Those things that we
cannot manufacture and should never ownwater, air, birds,
treesare the foundation of lifes pleasures. Without them,
were nothing. With us, there may be nothing left. Its our
Umbra Fisk, Grist Magazine.
Slightly adapted from: http://www.worldwatch.org/node/1470
Access on June 1, 2007.
The main purpose of this text is to: