Sunday, November 25, 2012

No Impact Week - Day 1: Consumption

Today is the first day of No Impact Week in our house!

I thought it might be a great way to get back into blogging, but also to keep a record of the week's findings to have for learning and sharing purposes.

The No Impact Experiment is a week (8 days to be precise) during which you change your habits to live more sustainably and see what you can change on a long-term basis, what you can't and why. For more info about the week or how to participate in your own, check out The idea is that it just might make you happier.

Or click here:

Day 1: consumption

The first day focuses on consumption and is rather fitting for the time of year, especially with Black Friday having just passed.

Already, I have to make a confession. Juha and I have both been looking for winter coats for what seems to be an endless amount of time (about 3 visits to Stockmann over a couple of weeks). Due to a 20% off sale this weekend, we put a coat on layaway Friday and went back to pick it up today (we only later realized that it would be purchased on no-consumption day, go figure.) Since we tend to buy relatively little, and keep our coats for years (his old one was 8 years old, mine is about 6) we figured the purchase was justifiable and there was no point going back a week later and getting it at full price just for the sake of the experiment. It was in no way an impulse buy. For some of the other items on my list, such as a lighter backpack (mine seems to weight a ton when empty!) I'll be checking out some second-hand places around Helsinki to see if there are any viable options.

But before my ramble confession, this is what happened:

I started off the day by reading the newspaper online and catching up with what's going on in Canada. To my delight, had an entire "hot topic" dedicated to Black Friday. Since the green community has spent the last week buzzing about Black Friday, and its counterpart "Buy Nothing Day", I expected the Star would have some thoughts on the topic, regardless of their opinions. But I was sorely disappointed when clicking on the topic, several articles opened up:

- Canadian retailers fight back against Black Friday deals
- Canada’s Black Friday: Internet provides hassle-free bargain hunting, if you know where to look
- Canada’s Black Friday: Holiday shopping levels off, as online takes off
- Photos: Cool holiday gift ideas
- Black Friday shopping? Only on impulse, thanks!
- Black Friday shopping: Personally, I prefer to do some homework

So with a bit of hesitation, I decide to give the last article a try. Maybe it has something on sensible consumption and how to find more stuff second-hand, buy less overall, etc. (You can read the article here, but no need to waste your time.) Basically the author is against impulse buying, and compares her friend's impulse buy of a Mercedes Bens, with the complexity she faced when buying a horse... is this journalism?

In any case, one thought-provoking item in the news was the appearance of Black-Friday in the headlines, alongside a very brief article about yet another garment factory fire in Bangladesh killing at least 112 people (these happen quite often and always seem to leave dozens of people dead).

The two do not directly relate; I will admit to that. Regardless, I do feel that we owe some thought to the victims who slave away to make us an endless assortment of clothing and were tragically killed in the process. I am not trying to guilt anyone about this, just to bring some thought about where our clothes come from.

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