Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Green Streak

This week has given me the opportunity to reflect privately and publicly about all things ecological and not so logical. I sent a note to some clients and prospects right around Earth Day, and have been pondering how in less than a year, that became a borderline faux pas. Ad Age published my reaction and plenty of others to their article about marketers glomming on to the event like a materialistic Christmas grinch. I'm a little optimistic about good green intentions, despite the "road to hell" and all that. But it did give me pause.

I'm constantly "checking in" and running through a mental check list about my own eco-actions. They say it takes three weeks of doing something consistently to start to form a habit. I know my reasons for not eating meat started from reading "Diet for a Small Planet" (still a great book) back in the '70s, but I sometimes think now it's more a habit than anything; I'm just USED to skipping to the vegetables and fish on a menu and not even considering any other options. But that's a 30 year old "habit" by now!

I've always loved antiques and the concept of "repurposing" perfectly good items (influenced that childhood favorite book,
"The Boxcar Children," from even longer ago, perhaps?) And I have pangs of guilt if I toss so much as an envelope into the garbage instead of the recycle bin, so I guess that's a habit.

Motivated by saving green and going green, I tried to break an unconscious shopping habit by forming a new NON-shopping habit. I forswore buying anything other than replacing necessities, except for dinners out, etc. That meant I passed by ALL the January post-holiday sales (except for one shirt I got with an expiring gift certificate) and even worked to work my way through the old travel size shampoos I'd stored up like a squirrel before allowing myself to indulge in a new full sized bottle.

Then spring happened. And conspiring with that like the perfect storm was a big going out of business sale at my favorite store. Four dirt-cheap but fabulous skirts and shirts later I felt like a glutton after a midnight snack. Truth be told, I'm still pretty proud of myself. I was on the wagon for for 15 weeks of purchasing only necessities, and intend to get right back on.

Lots of people have done this, and done it better; there are plenty of blogs and books describing the experience in different levels.
It's astonishing to look around at all I have, and see all I don't need more of. And it was (make that is) a big deal for me, a recovering shopaholic, and was an important habit to FORM, just like recycling or buying local.

I may fall off the wagon again, but I believe I'm officially in the conscious consumer camp now...daycamp perhaps, but

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