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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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.


So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?



Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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Pride? Pride.

Who are we? Why are we proud?


This past week, I was called a faggot by someone close to me and by note, of all ways. The shock rolled through my body like thunder across barren plains and I was stuck paralyzed in place, frozen, unlike the melting ice caps. My chest suddenly felt tight, my hearing became dim, and my mind went blank except for one all-encompassing and constant word. Finally, after having thawed, my rage bubbled forward like divine retribution and I stood poised and ready to curse the name of the offending person. My tongue lashed the air into a frenzy, and I was angry until I let myself break and weep twice. Later, I began to question not sexualities or words used to express (or disparage) them, but my own embodiment of them.

For members of the queer community, there are several unspoken and vital rules that come into play in many situations, mainly for you to not be assaulted or worse (and it's all too often worse). Make sure your movements are measured and fit within the realm of possible heterosexuality. Keep your music low and let no one hear who you listen to. Avoid every shred of anything stereotypically gay or feminine like the plague. Tell the truth without details when you can and tell half-truths with real details if you must. And above all, learn how to clear your search history. At twenty, I remember my days of teaching my puberty-stricken body the lessons I thought no one else was learning. Over time I learned the more subtle and more important lessons of what exactly gay culture is. Now a man with a head and social media accounts full of gay indicators, I find myself wondering both what it all means and more importantly, does it even matter?

To the question of whether it matters, the answer is naturally yes and no (and no, that's not my answer because I'm a Gemini). The month of June has the pleasure of being the time of year when the LGBT+ community embraces the hateful rhetoric and indulges in one of the deadly sins. Pride. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, the figures at the head of the gay liberation movement, fought for something larger than themselves and as with the rest of the LGBT+ community, Pride is more than a parade of muscular white men dancing in their underwear. It's a time of reflection, of mourning, of celebration, of course, and most importantly, of hope. Pride is a time to look back at how far we've come and realize that there is still a far way to go.

This year marks fifty years since the Stonewall Riots and the gay liberation movement launched onto the world stage, thus making the learning and embracing of gay culture that much more important. The waves of queer people that come after the AIDS crisis has been given the task of rebuilding and redefining. The AIDS crisis was more than just that. It was Death itself stalking through the community with the help of Regan doing nothing. It was going out with friends and your circle shrinking faster than you can try or even care to replenish. Where do you go after the apocalypse? The LGBT+ community was a world shut off from access by a touch of death and now on the other side, we must weave in as much life as we can.

But we can't freeze and dwell of this forever. It matters because that's where we came from, but it doesn't matter because that's not where we are anymore. We're in a time of rebirth and spring. The LGBT+ community can forge a new identity where the AIDS crisis is not the defining feature, rather a defining feature to be immortalized, mourned, and moved on from.

And to the question of what does it all mean? Well, it means that I'm gay and that I've learned the central lesson that all queer people should learn in middle school. It's called Pride for a reason. We have to shoulder the weight of it all and still hold our head high and we should. Pride is the LGBT+ community turning lemons into lemon squares and limoncello. The lemon squares are funeral cakes meant to mourn and be a familiar reminder of what passed, but the limoncello is the extravagant and intoxicating celebration of what is to come. This year I choose to combine the two and get drunk off funeral cakes. Something tells me that those who came before would've wanted me to celebrate.

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