For our God is a consuming fire.

-Hebrews 12:29

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Story of Stuff

Right this second, I'm supposed to be sitting in a sunny meadow, heavily chilled beverage in hand with the sounds of solid bluegrass filling my ears and soul. I am however sitting in my home office, doing loads of laundry and blogging. Not that this is bad, it's just a deviation from the plan. The plan being to attend DelFest, camp and frolic.

We started out the holiday weekend with great weather and filled coolers (veggie burgers, champagne and fresh cherries - THAT's camping!). We set up tent and gazebo in a barren, dry field at the Allegany County Fairgrounds and got a dozen hours of bluegrass and one night's good sleep under our belts. At 4:30ish on Day 2 of the festival, the skies opened up with the feverish pace of a hail storm, 4 inches of rain in a half hour and wind gusts so strong the side of the tent was lifted off the ground WITH US IN IT!

The entire festival came to halt as fields of tents ripped from their spikes and eventually landed into the mud. Ambulances came on site to check for injuries after the lightening strikes and felled trees. The husband and I were soaked through from inside the tent from rain pelting sideways and water seeping up from underneath. It was a certainly a scary experience. Thankfully, to my knowledge as of this writing, no one was seriously injured.

We did get home earlier than anticipated. While the festival went on, there was no place for us to sleep or stay out of any future sun. The metal of our gazebo posts was whipped into pieces, and we marched through the calf-deep mud on our exit to put pieces in the trash....which leads me to the second part of this entry.

Knowing we're going to need a new gazebo, I started looking for sales. Got to thinking about the thousands of campers who were also going to need new tents, folding chairs and other equipment molested by the storm. What about all the old equipment heading to the landfill? What of all the funds spent to acquire new, hopefully inexpensive stuff? So I did what us librarians do so well - I started researching consumption and its effect on our environment. It ain't a pretty picture (neither is the campsite pic posted above), but it's one we all need to be familiar with so we can change it!

I'd like to share one finding with you. It's a cute and informative 20 minute video about our stuff and the unconsidered impacts of our cheap acquisitions. I'm also encouraging all readers to incorporate some/all of the "another way" tips into your overall consumption mindset. As for me, I'm going to scour craigslist for a used gazebo, despite the sales I saw at Sports Authority. It's a small, but immediate start. Here's to more mindful and less overall consuming!

1 comment:

Deana said...

i feel your pain and sit in puzzlement over my accumulation of stuff. while i absolutely appreciate the intent of “the story of stuff,” not so sure that i have the view of corporations as a big fat evil.

what i think is right on the money from the video is this notion of perceived and planned obsolescence. i know i certainly get sucked into the perceived obsolescence of my stuff. on this very day i want to upgrade from my outdated yet perfectly useful ipod.

thanks for the post!