The Problem With Buying New Things

The Problem With Buying New Things

Just think a little more...

The American Dream has always revolved around template of comfort – one specific Cards Against Humanity card sums the experience up quite well:

"Getting married, having a few kids, buying some stuff, retiring to Florida, and dying."

And while we might toss the card around a dorm room coffee table and laugh about it, it holds a surprising amount of truth. "Successful" Americans buy stuff.

Let's take a step backward:

We all know the American Dream clashes with the environment – We've all seen Fern Gully, Pocahontas, Avatar, or any one of the giant collection of "we're sorry about colonialism" films. The idea of "taming the wild" and harvesting it in the name of progress simply doesn't pay; we need to protect Mother Nature from the man!

But why are people tearing down the rain forests? Why are they mining for minerals in the faces of once majestic mountains? Why are they drilling into the ground to bring up oil?

Because people pay them to do it. WE pay them to do it.

WE buy new things. New things rely on new resources.

Now, before you click away, realize this isn't a "you should feel bad but I have everything figured out" article. I'm not one of those people who'll pick apart your entire life just because I took a liberal arts class once.

But it's an apparent truth that I think we'd rather forget: every time we buy a brand new, sparkly object, we're rewarding the efforts of all those who dig up new resources. New gadgets, new clothes, and new cars all need fresh resources and a consequently huge amount of energy to deliver themselves to your doorstep.

I'm in no way trying to tell people their way of living is inherently wrong, but here are some things you should consider when shopping:

Can I buy this product used?

More often than not, the answer is "yes." You can buy just about any non-edible product from a previous owner. Where? eBay, Craigslist, Amazon -- all your favorite online vendors as well as local shops like thrift stores and used car dealerships.

Many people are wary of buying pre-owned items, but a little bit of knowledge about the product and seller can go a very long way. Some people don't like the idea of wearing used clothes, but believe me, they're clean. You can always lie to people and say you got it on super-sale. Odds are, the used product is about %75 cheaper.

Will this product last a long time?

Used or new, a product should be quality enough to last longer than a few months or even years. The longer you can stretch the lifespan of a product, the fewer times you'll need to buy it. Get durable clothes and electronics, and get cars that won't crap out after only a handful of years. The greatest thing you can do for Mother Nature is eliminate waste of all types, that includes the waste of things like clothes and shoes.

Can I resell this product?

You won't make much money buying new products and selling them. But you CAN make money buying used products, fixing them, and then reselling them.

But that's not the point. Everyone will need upgrades at some point. For instance, you need a new bike because the one you have simply isn't equipped for the level of riding you do.

Just be sure that when you upgrade, you appropriately sell the old product. Some people out there buy completely destroyed vehicles, fix them up, and put them back into the economy. There's a word for those people: heroes.

We need stuff, there's no question about that. But simply changing the way we buy it and how we treat it greatly impacts the environment. The American Dream may revolve around buying new things, but the American Dream is also responsible for a great deal of environmental loss.

Cover Image Credit: Uubelmont

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?


Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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