Education

Week 12: Change Your Perspective

Now that you are a several weeks into the process, you may be thinking more about environmental issues, small scale positive action, and how collective action might be a big part of the solution. You may be feeling really good about the actions you’ve taken so far. You may be struggling with a few – and that’s okay too. As I said in Week 1, learning is half the battle. This means that just thinking about and exploring these issues is an amazing way to change your perspective.

For me, the biggest change has been learning to not buy things. And I’m not talking about important things, I’m talking about all the little things that become random purchases – the little plastic toy for a kid that you know is going to get played with once and forgotten; the t-shirt that is on sale at the mall; the craft supply that will gather dust on the shelf; some picture frame that you don’t really need – every time we spend money on this stuff we are voting with our dollars and telling the economy what we want more of. If we tell the economy that we want less junk and more handmade and sustainably made, locally made goods, the economy will respond.

The “Buyarchy of Needs” is a great model of another perspective to consider. Created by Sarah Lazarovic, a Canadian Illustrator, the image identifies a different kind of “hierarchy of needs” (originally by Abraham Maslow).

In her interview with Ecouterre, Sarah explains, “The chart was a way for me to prioritize the manner in which I go about finding what I need. Drawing it and hanging it on my wall keeps me in check when I’m tempted to buy something for the sake of expediency, or because I don’t want to bother a friend, or trek to the thrift store.” I love the idea and refer to it often when I’m thinking about buying something new.

I know sometimes these types of changes can seem daunting. I remember hearing about the “Buy Nothing New” challenge where participants thrift, make, buy used, or swap rather than buying new. It seemed like an admirable goal but not something I could do with kids. These days, it’s rare that anyone in my family thinks to buy something new before checking swap sites and facebook groups,  or borrowing from friends. If we do choose to buy something, our first stop is second hand stores. With just a few extra adjustments, I think the challenge would be a breeze now.

Like all behaviour change, once you start integrating them into your life and schedule, they become so much easier. I hope you find so as well!

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