Thursday, November 27, 2008

In honor of Buy Nothing Day, I'm recycling a rant


A year ago, I was spending every free moment at an animal rehab facility, trying to do my part to save the lives of the aquatic birds affected by the Cosco Busan oil spill. I think that what I wrote at the time still holds true.



The day after Thanksgiving "traditionally" marks the first day of the Christmas shopping season, but this year Christmas appeared on store shelves even earlier than usual. I was simultaneously delighted and appalled by seeing plastic Halloween lawn-display zombies displayed side-by-side with Christmas banners proclaiming "Peace." The perverse juxtaposition (intentional or not) appealed to my sick sense of humor. The thought of all the throw away plastic crap being sold in the name of "celebrating the season" turned my stomach.

I would rather be beaten with sticks than venture anywhere near a store today. Frankly, I do best if I stay out of malls altogether at this time of year.

I'm not a religious person, but I believe that Jesus would be horrified by the orgy of consumerism that has been tied to his birth. By now, Robb knows that when I start my rant out about how the Three Kings would have taken back their gifts to the Christ Child if they saw how the giving of those gifts had been perverted, it is time to steer me away from the stores.

I'll be honest. I find American Christmas crass and wasteful.

Americans are drowning in cheap knick-knackery and debt, and yet we engage in a frenzy of purchasing, all in the name of holiday spirit.

Picture Christmas morning. Everyone around the Christmas tree, ripping into presents. Now picture the resulting garbage bag filled with wrapping paper and packaging. Imagine your household's garbage bag, out on the curb with the bags from everyone on your block. Now imagine the pile of trash created by every household in America. Most of that stuff was manufactured somewhere in the third world, and shipped around the the planet, so we could buy it and promptly throw it away.

Why do I bring this up, now?

Well, it is no accident that all this has been on my mind each time I hold a terrified bird as someone jams a hydration tube down the bird's throat in a desperate attempt at saving that animal's life. I've been thinking about this as the number of animal deaths climbs to over two thousand. I've been thinking about this when I realize that our seemingly unquenchable appetite for cheap consumer goods is partially to blame for all this carnage.

All that cheap throw-away crap is carried on container ships, just like the one that rammed into the Bay Bridge and ripped open its fuel tanks in the process.

Was it safe for the ship to be sailing in such dense fog? Stop asking questions! We can't interrupt the flow of goods from one end of the world to the other!

How about the endless list of lead-tainted products imported from abroad? Stop asking questions! We want the cheapest possible prices!

Deadly imported foods?

Questionable working conditions for the factory employees who make all this stuff?

Dead birds? Poisoned waters? Ruined fisheries?

Only thirty one days until Christmas!



Gina said...

I completely agree, Lisa! Thanks for posting this again.

May I suggest an alternative activity for everyone searching for a festive manner in which to spend Black Friday? Try taking part in the "Day of Listening", sponsered by Storycorps, one of my favorite institutions. Perhaps the best gift we can give is the gift of undivided attention and listening to a relative or friend for 40 minutes, and preserving their story forever. All of my students will be doing it this year, and I can't wait for us to share what we heard.

Fluffy Cow said...

The beauty of recycling (as in this post) is that those (like me) who did not get to see it the first time can now agree with you!! Even my kids shake their heads and sigh at the buying frenzy going on...

John and Diane said...

Couldn't agree with you more. Happy holidays! ;-)
-Astro D

Minette said...



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...