The Library Springfield-Greene County Library District Springfield, Missouri

Living with Less Stuff

"It's cooler not to spend."  --Faith Popcorn, trends guru

Or as an everyday, run-of-the-mill non-guru says:  "I started to wonder why I was so frugal at the grocery store if I was spending $3.50 on a mocha at the beginning of each (shopping) trip.  That could buy nearly two pounds of ground turkey or a whole chicken."

Certainly the economic doldrums play a part, but it seems that a substantial number of people are at least open to considering a lifestyle that could be characterized as simple and sustainable.  They tend to be the people who would be uncomfortable knowing that Americans throw out 200,000 tons of edible food daily and that there are more shopping malls than high schools.

The business community is trying to stay ahead of this curve with initiatives such as Levi Strauss & Company's "Care to Air" contest.  That company is looking for the next generation of air drying design ideas that will improve or replace the typical clothesline, while decreasing the use of clothes dryers.  Their "Care Tag for Our Planet" campaign encourages consumers to think differently about their laundry habits and come up with simple changes that also would include washing in cold water, washing less, and donating unwanted or unused garments to clothing banks.

We didn't develop our prodigal, thriftless ways overnight and change will come slowly and grudgingly .  As brand strategist Russ Meyer says:  "Just as we find it amazing that there were no air bags in automobiles 40 years ago, in 40 years time we will be amazed at how far we have yet to go to live sustainability--and how much progress we'll have made."

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