a couple weeks ago my work had a parent information nite with a great topic and a guest presenter that i have been to a couple of her workshops at conferences and really enjoyed them. i decided to go the the evening and it was really good. the topic was consumption (great topic for families going into the holiday season). part of the evening included the 20 minute video "the story of stuff"-- it's a great video that is worth the 20 minutes and you can either watch it on the website or download it for free)
one minute of the movie:
it was interesting what a lot of the parents had to say too (we had some group discussions afterwards).
just before i left home to go to the meeting zac came home saying he NEEDED some musical related thing (i can't remember what it was that nite because most of the time it changes every couple weeks). fortunately he doesn't go out and buy most of this stuff he says he needs but i did come home with this fact for him (from the video): in america (and i'm sure that australia is similar although probably a bit better) 99% of things bought are not used 6 months after purchasing and are just thrown away. just looking around our lounge room i can see several things that we haven't touched in months (and i don't even want to think about the stuff in the spare room). it's amazing how much stuff we've gained (especially since i moved from canada with only 2 large bags and have only brought over photo albums and a few other special items since then) even when we do try to be careful about what we buy.
i've even tried to be much better in what we give to others in gifts over the past year. i'm only buying books, fair trade toys (sold from local shops) and handmade clothing (either by me or local person) for children and we're trying to get more meaningful gifts for people (i.e. photo gifts). i'm also trying to buy a lot more from small local shops (and we have some great shops around the area).