Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Compact Pact

This will be my last post until next week...Cheers from Boston!

A recent environmental movement has come about from San Francisco. I had heard of similar strategies from my college "Environmental Ethics" class, but this is the first time I have seen it in the mainstream (recently discussed on CNN). The Compact is a group of individuals who agree to voluntary simplicity, more specifically, they agree to not buy anything new for at least one year, with exceptions to things like health and food items, toliet paper, car fluid, underwear, etc. Members are only to shop at consignment shops or used good stores. They are also allowed to purchase services, like admission to movies or museums, haircuts, music downloads, etc.

So what is there big difference from living normally, besides agreeing to not buy anything new? Through this experience as well as their past, members of the Compact know the difference between "want" and "need". I have mentioned it multiple times on this blog how I struggle with this concept, as I am sure many of you do as well. Our culture produces an endless need for things we truly only "want". In turn, our children grow up to do the same. One of the advantages to members, as discussed in the CNN article, is that children benefit more and see the value of the dollar through this experience. Sure, they might not have the hippest clothes for school or have the latest electronic item, but in the long term, they will understand the value of money and spend it wisely.

One member called the Compact "a very low level of activism". Its amazing, because I certainly do not believe this to be the case. This is a MAJOR fight against corporate America. The Compact in San Francisco runs the "Really Really Free Market" where Compact members meet to exchange or give away items they not longer need. The Compact is also a big advocate of when getting rid of items to make sure it does not go to waste. These Americans are not different from you and I, they have hit turning points in their lives as well, and found out what really matters in life. This is not a tree-hugging, hippie family that you might imagine, and perhaps you may consider taking on a more simplistic lifestyle yourself. They are saving money by helping our planet, which is not so hard to do as I have come to find. For more information on the Compact, or to find a chapter in your area, check their blog.

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