Tuesday, April 22

Conflicted (part III)

I am continually inspired to "try" by those like Michael Pollan. In Sunday's New York Times article he writes:
"If you do bother, you will set an example for other people. If enough other people bother, each one influencing yet another in a chain reaction of behavioral change, markets for all manner of green products and alternative technologies will prosper and expand. (Just look at the market for hybrid cars.) Consciousness will be raised, perhaps even changed: new moral imperatives and new taboos might take root in the culture. Driving an S.U.V. or eating a 24-ounce steak or illuminating your McMansion like an airport runway at night might come to be regarded as outrages to human conscience. Not having things might become cooler than having them. And those who did change the way they live would acquire the moral standing to demand changes in behavior from others — from other people, other corporations, even other countries."
Related to my "true cost" mission, I found this fabulous documentary abut the company Icebreaker. It helped me to understand and justify their prices. I love this company. I love their products. The question is can I afford it?

I have observed skyrocketing food prices over the past few years, but I didn't think others were noticing. Finally it has captured media attention and everyone seems to be feeling the sting. I have become seriously concerned about our economy. The gallon of milk that I buy has increased from $3.00 a gallon to $4.50 a gallon in the past year. Eco-friendly products have me paying $12 for a box of laundry detergent. In 2004 gas reached a record high of $2 per gallon, today we are facing the possibility of $4 per gallon by summer.

I make about 60% less than I made in 2004, as I work part-time now to be with our son. Our household income remains lower than it did in 2004, yet we are faced with new expenses every day. I started this blog almost a year ago as my husband and I observed our spending was exceeding our income. We decided to move to a cash payment system. For a while we successfully lived on our alloted weekly cash stipend of $400 for food, gas, toiletries, haircuts, gifts, toys, clothes, dry cleaning, entertainment, etc. (home-related expenses, utilities, insurance premiums and childcare were not included). I'd like to tell you that it is working, but I would be lying. We are constantly being confronted with exceptions and special cases, but we continue to "try".

So how do we do it? How do we pay the "true cost" of sustainable goods and feel good about it? How do we know this is the best way to "invest" our money? Clearly it comes down to consuming less, but that isn't the easiest thing to do. Is it?

Happy Earth Day!

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