Saturday, May 20, 2006

How much is your time really worth?

Here's an interesting way to think about your time and money:
Calculate Your Real Wage

The calculator goes through how much time you actually spend on work: not only the time you're at work, but also factoring in commuting, preparing for work, and relaxing after work (we all do it, don't we?).

Note: this works the best if you are truly honest to yourself about every hour you put into work. Also, list some real items that you are thinking of purchasing at the end. I was surprised to see what it said!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Big Box Organic - the corporatization of organics

There are many aspects to being a conscious consumer. Where and how were items made/grown? How were the people involved treated and compensated? What is the overall impact of your purchase - on the environment, on society, on the bottom line of various companies?

For a variety of reasons, many of us have shifted to buying more organic food. Traditionally, organic farming was synonomous with small, local farmers that practiced environmentally friendly forms of farming. That's often no longer the case as evidenced by this chart of corporate ownership of the organic foods market.

Here's an interesting article on the subject if you'd like to read more.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

It's a boy! Now turn on the TV

Well, it's finally happened. A TV channel exclusively for babies has arrived.

BabyFirstTV is available via subscription so that your children can start becoming TV zombies straight out of the womb. Nevermind that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends absolutely NO television watching for children under two years old.

BFTV's executive Sharon Rechter says, "The fact of life is that babies are already watching TV," so why not give them something that's "safe" and totally their own?

Let's not assume that parents will take the easy, $9.99/month road, but will instead turn that TV off.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Not Buying It

I've been hearing about this new book that's come out, Not Buying It by Judith Levine. Here's a brave soul: she buys nothing that's deemed a luxury for an entire year. And she has pretty low standards.

Here's an excerpt from Amazon:
Since giving up shopping entirely is impossible in North America (buying food requires money), the most interesting aspect of Levine's adventure is the process of defining necessity. High-speed Internet access, Q-tips and any soap fancier than Ivory, for example, are all ruled out as luxuries. ...As Levine trades in movies and restaurants for the public library system and dinner parties at home, she is forced to reflect on not only the personal indulgences she's become used to but also their place in defining her social space. ...Levine investigates several anticonsumer movements—she joins her local Voluntary Simplicity group, participates in Buy Nothing Day and consults experts on issues of consumerism and conservation. Yet the most insightful aspect is Levine's account of her own struggle to keep down her day-to-day consumption of goods and to define the fine line between need and want.

Anybody read this book yet? Leave your review in the comments! Let us know of other books you've read, too!

Friday, May 05, 2006

See us in J.P. this weekend!

Hey everybody!

Conscious Consuming will be in Jamaica Plain at the wonderful
Wake Up the Earth Festival, Saturday, May 6th. We have a booth and love to chat, so meet us there!

We're also having a kid's activity, so bring all the little people you know. We're going to have kids make cards for their mom/dad and have them think of non-material things to "give" them for the next holiday, like Mother's Day. These could be things as simple as "Five hugs!" or as difficult (for a 5-year-old) as "Let Mom sleep in on Saturday!"

Join us in the fun!