This Friday, before the sun comes up, we will all come together to wait in lines, in the cold, removed from our friends and family, so that we can throw an elbow into a middle aged woman in order to snatch up the last Elmo toy on the shelf.
Is there a more fitting way to celebrate the day after Thanksgiving than by showing your appreciation for all that you have in your life by buying more?
Last year, brick-and-mortar store sales for Thanksgiving and Black Friday hit $12.3 billion while online sales reached $1.964 billion (source).
What did we buy? Did we need it? Did it improve and enrich our lives? Most importantly of all, did we get a really good f***ing deal?
I Want All the Things
I am a consumer and lover of capitalism. I like nice things. I really love technology and buying shiny new toys.
I, however, am an environmentalist. What we buy and consume directly affects the environment.
All of my tech toys contain heavy metals that had to be mined. That mining polluted the environment. My purchase of each one of my various cameras, phones, and computers sent an economic signal that said, “Hey, I like what your doing. Keep it up!”
Is that the message I want to send? I have a heavy conscience about my consumerism.
To reconcile this internal struggle, I try to buy high quality equipment that is going to last me. I also avoid impulse purchasing, which is honestly made easier by the fact that I don’t have a lot of disposable income.
It seems as if technology today is purposefully designed to be used for a short period and then thrown away when it breaks or the newest version is released. We live in a shortsighted disposable world. But the thing is, all those electronics weren’t designed to be thrown away.
E-Waste, By The Numbers
- Only 12.5% of e-waste is currently recycled.
- 20 to 50 million metric tons of e-waste are disposed worldwide every year.
- Cell phones and other electronic items contain high amounts of precious metals like gold or silver. Americans dump phones containing over $60 million in gold/silver every year.
- E-waste represents 2% of America’s trash in landfills, but it equals 70% of overall toxic waste.
- 80 to 85% of electronic products were discarded in landfills or incinerators, which can release certain toxics into the air (source).
The Things You Own
I need food, water, and shelter. Additionally, life is made better with loving friends and family and a healthy body, mind, and spirit. The 35mm 1.4F camera lens currently on my Amazon.com wish list is very much a want.
Many times we forget how fortunate we are and all that we have to be thankful for.
The things you own end up owning you. It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything. -Tyler Durden, Fight Club
Now, I don’t think you need to blow your house up, destroying all your possessions, and then form an underground fight club that turns into anarchist organization. The things we own, however, should help us in our life, not hold us back.
What is important to you? Do your actions (purchases) truly reflect what you say is important to you?
If You’re Going to Buy Something…
This Friday, or any day of the year, seek make purchases that make your life better. Buy things that provide you with higher quality food, water, and shelter. Buy things that bring you closer to your friends and family and having a healthy body, mind, and spirit.
Here are some good choices for my Manly Green followers:
Cast Iron Pan
Cast iron is great. It is nearly all that I use day-to-day. Cast iron is durable and removes fears of leaching toxic chemicals into your food. Caring for it is a bit different but I’ve got you covered (How to Care for Your Cast Iron). Buy one for yourself or a loved one and share the gift of cooking. I recommend the Lodge 10-inch Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Skillet as a good first addition to a cast iron collection.
A Sand County Almanac, by Aldo Leopold
A Sand County Almanac is a great read for anyone who loves the outdoors. Aldo Leopold’s writing style transports you out into nature and it feels almost as if he is standing right next to you, pointing out and explaining the beauty around you. A Sand County Almanac is a landmark in the American conservation movement and a must read for any environmentalist. The land ethic principles Leopold wrote about more than 65 years ago still hold true today – even more so, I feel.
This winter, when it is cold and miserable outside, this is the book you want to be reaching for while you stay warm inside. Add this book to a cup of hot black coffee and my fuzzy slippers and I think I’ve created an excellent winter afternoon.
Stainless Steel Water Bottle
I really hope you aren’t still drinking bottled water. All that plastic that is thrown away! Not green in the least. Hydration, however, is important and you don’t need to have any excuses to be neglecting it. I take a water bottle everywhere. I use a Klean Stainless Steel Bottle because it keeps any and all plastic away from my water. Maybe you already have a water bottle, which is great, but maybe your water bottle is plastic and thats not doing you or the environment any favors. Even BPA-free plastic leaches out unwanted chemicals into your water (Is Your Kitchen Slowly Poisoning You?). Personally, when I’m thirsty, I’m looking for some high quality H2O . No side of chemicals, please.
The links to the products above are Amazon.com Associate links. What does that mean? Well, if you click the product links above you’ll be sent to Amazon’s website. The link, however, contains a small tiny piece of code that tells Amazon The Manly Green sent you there. Because of that, if you buy anything 24 hours after clicking the link, Amazon will give me a small percentage of what you spend, a commission, since I sent you there.
I truly do support (and own) the products I suggested but I wanted to be transparent with you all.
Although with Amazon, they aren’t the best when it comes to their use of clean energy to power all their servers – actually they’re pretty bad but hopefully that is changing (read more here). You just can’t win sometimes… but you can put the odds in your favor by shopping local, buying goods that will last, buying goods made by good companies, and by making purchases that enrich your life.
Support The Manly Green
If you’re going to buy something, make it green. Make it make your life better.
And if you are going to buy it on Amazon.com, Click Here, to help support me and pay for the upkeep of The Manly Green – have some of the Amazon green go towards Green.