Alternatives to Amazon
There are some great websites that are swimming against the current of consumerism. Here are a couple, from Portland, where I live:
First, The Non-Consumer Advocate. It consistently makes the point that the quality of our lives is not measured by the stuff that we own. I first wrote about this a couple of years ago, and since then it has continued to grow, and now has over 25,000 readers. It is filled with stories, sometimes designed to inform, sometimes to inspire, of people who save money by using things longer, repairing what is broken, discovering they don’t need stuff that they thought they did need, and in general, having a simpler, happier life.
Second, there are many many local Buy Nothing sites - you can find what is available where you are by going to www.buynothingproject.org, click on OUR GROUPS, and then FIND A GROUP. Their slogan is, “Random Acts of Kindness All Day Long”. You can do two things on the local sites: ask for something, for free. Or give away something, for free. What you can’t do is sell, or offer to buy, or trade. If you have to ask why anyone would want to go there, then I can’t help you. If it seems like an intriguing idea, then check it out.
These sites, and sites like them, are sticks in the wheel, or spanners in the works, of the consumer banking industry. If people made do with less, we wouldn’t need credit card debt, and then - what would happen to the banks? We need to be courageous to think about living that differently. If China had to close some of their coal-powered planet-destroying factories, if Walmart’s profits dropped from billions to only hundreds of millions, if we spent less time in traffic jams and had more time to hang with families and friends - that would require a big adjustment.
Note that non-consumerism doesn’t have a $300 billion advertising budget like consumerism does, so it takes some effort to find alternative voices. But they are out there. The sites are not always very slick, and they don’t keep you coming by sending non-stop emails. This economy runs in parallel with the advertising-driven economy, and you don’t hear much about it, because the media where we learn about the world, well, they are driven by advertising also. It’s worth the effort to become a non-consumer.