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Main » Articles » ISSUE #4 » Ecology

New life to the old things

We're a generation of consumers. We live to buy and buy to live. And every year the situation is becoming more daunting and gloomy like a vicious circle - you have to work harder to earn more money-for what?-to spend more and more  and end up working harder again. Rat race, isn't it?  

We are educated enough to understand that it takes the nature centuries to terminate the waste we produce daily. We are perfectly aware that this is a nowhere way for humanity but still it’s very convenient to act like light-minded Scarlet O’Hara who avoided thinking about urgent issues and tended to put them off until tomorrow. The thing is that tomorrow might never come...

The statistics are that we buy a new thing and use it no longer than 90 days, then we substitute this "old” item with a more up-to-date and trendy product. Why? Why do we do that?! Actually, you can say that there are plenty of factors that push us to shop more and more often - we are just  victims  of "aggressive”  commercials that hypnotize and manipulate us or ,say, a widespread Feng Shui belief that if you don’t use a thing for longer than a year,it’s clutter, so you’d better throw it away or the aura of your home will be destroyed. The last but not least, it’s ongoing stress - you try to cope with it and cheer yourself up by buying something brand new  every weekend. The worst thing about this is  that we purchase things not to meet our basic needs but to make an impression that you are successful and happy... but in fact you are NOT.

To have a deeper insight, please watch a video
"The story of Stuff”

The consequences are unpitying, the Earth is turning into a big dump and very serious measures must be taken to reverse the situation.

Firstly, it’s high time to  finally realise that we live on a planet with limited resources and make a new attempt  to re-discover the pleasure of swapping, mending, giving a new life to something old, turning trash to treasure. By the way, vintage style has been successfully exploited by high street fashion designers for many decades. Some designers use plastic bottles and bags and other waste stuff to create unique things which might decorate any interior and make it sustainable!

Aren’t you amazed looking at works of Michelle Brand, a British eco-designer?They are gorgeous! She really inspired me to make a curtain like this for our country house.  To make one you need on average 300 flowers cut out of bottle bottoms. Undoubtedly, it’s time-consuming, as for me, I’ve been collecting those ‘bottoms” for half a year already. But the point is, that you care and crave to do something relevant, to make your own contribution to the global issue solution. And I spread the idea asking my folks and neighbours not to throw away plastic bottles, which creates a so-called "wave effect” - people around you also stop being indifferent.

Secondly, we need to be active and promote the concept of creative recycling, which means consuming less and being able to see the next life of a thing that seems obsolete. For instance, what could you  make out of  vinyl records, old Cds or plastic bottles? Have a look!

And finally, I think that the main focus should be made on children, they need to understand  all consequences of I-couldn’t-care-less attitude to the world around them. So, it would be a great idea to arrange a regular craft workshops with kids and show how useful and enjoyable creative recycling might be.

Sky is the limit! Birthdays, Christmas and other holidays are perfect occasions to switch on your imagination and give a new life to an old thing, and the person who will be lucky to receive this gift is bound to appreciate your  time and effort spent. To be honest, I am quite fed up with all that "duty” presents - food for dust. And I was really thrilled when last year  I got 2 handmade cards from my dear colleagues for New year and Christmas and even now ,a year after, I remember this feeling of joy.

PS. I’m also concerned about consumerism and creative recycling and making my first steps, I am learning how to use a decoupage technique to renew old things. Here’re some photos from  my daughter’s room and  kitchen. <a href="http://slideful.com/v20111126_2231746147002210_pf.htm">View the slide show</a>

If you’re addicted to shopping, maybe reading some statistics will help you to stop and ask yourself "Do I really need this new item of something or I can do without it?”

  • Half the world lives on less than two dollars a day
  • The world's annual consumption of plastic materials has increased from around 5 million tonnes in the 1950s to nearly 100 million tonnes today.
  • The amount of wood and paper we throw away is enough to heat 50 million homes for 20 years
  • If just 25% of U.S. families used 10 fewer plastic bags a month, we would save over 2.5 BILLION bags a year.
  • 84 percent of all household waste can be recycled

Category: Ecology | Added by: Guzeliya (26-Nov-2011) | Author: Marina Shvets E
Views: 3532 | Comments: 7 | Tags: creative recycling, decoupage, consumerism, recycling plastic, Michelle Brand | Rating: 4.9/9
Total comments: 6
6 Milena  
I think almost all people understand that this issue is really serious but not all of them want to do anything to solve it. In many cases it's so because we depend on society very much. I mean you need to have very strong character to go against the stereotypes imposed by the mass media. But, fortunately, in recent years people "who make fashion" began to think about global problems and make efforts to solve them.

5 Galaxy  
Good job! I like this article , very touchy!

4 ageres  
Well, First of all, I don't buy commercials or ads. Second of all, I remember having different items of clothes for at least 10 years and they looked like brand new.That's because I'm neat and tidy I guess.
I'd say I never buy what I don't need.. Am I going GREEN?!

3 Larisa  
For me the article turned out to be a kind of halt in the constant race for goods. Marina succeeded in making me consider everything I buy from the point of view of its practicality.

2 Katie  
Actually I think of the prоblem every time my family moves from one place to another and we have to pack and unpack a lot of stuff))) Every time it comes to my mind: "What on earth do all those things do here? Why did I buy this and that?" And the issue is really urgent!

1 Tatiana  
Brilliant and very inspiring article! I think we'll pick up some ideas to decorate our school for Christmas:)

I just can't agree with calling Scarlet light-minded. She was a very strong woman! And this tactic of hers not to make decisions when you are hot under the collar or taken aback by some twist in your life only proves that she had her head screwed on right:)

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