Made in China

Where did this come from?

A few weeks ago, I found myself with time to spare as I waited for my co-op produce basket to be delivered to my pickup location, Ford's Nursery. 

Ford's holds a special place in my heart as I can remember to this day going with my mom to buy flowers for the yard.  The place would be buzzing with Green Thumb Gerturdes doing the same.  The small quaint shop packed full of flowers with the smell of fertilized dirt waffing through the air.  

While I don't do much yard work at our current house, I still love walking through the small greenhouse. The variety and colors and freshness just speak to me. They also whisper things like "Take me home!" so I have to be on guard weekly. 

Walk in. Grab basket. Leave. 

Imagine my reaction to walking in and the baskets weren't there.  My system was broken and now I was stuck in the prettiest nursery surrounded by all my favorite things until the truck arrived.  Which I secretly hoped would be sooner rather than later.  

Around the store I wander. I notice a macrame planter hanging from the ceiling.  It catches my eye as I've been wanting one for a few months.  I turn over the price tag. 


I think this is too much for a plastic pot and some rope and decide it is not for me. Thank goodness. 

Then I spot a sticker on the bottom of the planter.  

Made in China.

Immediately visions of cargo ships spanning the vast ocean carting over more cheap plastic stuff that we don't need dance in my mind. I start to ponder the power of our purchases and the problems facing our beautiful planet.

I'm tapped on the shoulder, "Ma'am the baskets have arrived."

My thoughts are interrupted and my wallet is saved. I grab my basket and head home, but my head is full of questions.

Phrases like conscious consumerism and a circle economy swirl around my internet browser as I decide to learn more. There are big issues facing our world and Mother Earth.

Overuse of plastic. The influx of cardboard shipping boxes thanks to easy-to-place online orders. Overflowing landfills (& oceans) because we are throwing away at an alarming rate.

It dawns on me, this all starts at the same place.


Buying & getting.

While the idea of helping solve our planet's plastic and pollution problem seems impossible, the reality is we can. It starts with us and it starts with our decisions to buy.

If things are coming in faster than they are going out (of our home), then we have a storage problem.

If things are coming in that we don't really want, need, or use, then we have a wastefulness problem. Wasteful of resources (ours and the planets).

Because as things come in, they must eventually go out. Stuff is easy to accumulate and overwhelming to get rid of.

I play captain for Team Donate when organizing with clients. But talking about where to donate seems pointless when the root of the issue is the getting.

Why do I want this?
Do I even need this?
Can this be repaired?
What did it cost Mother Earth to produce and arrive at my door?
What type of working condition did the person endure to make it?

When we slow the pace of buying we begin to unearth some very startling truths about ourself and our lifestyles.

The first and easiest parameter to place on ourself is to buy less. Yes we should dig deeper and understand what to buy and from whom, but instead of getting overwhelmed and think we won't make an impact, why don't we start with something that we can do.

Become aware of our purchasing decisions.

Consider this permission granted to snuff out the flame of desire. Because it is a fake heat, a spark of excitement that all too often cools and leaves us wanting more.

Permission to see that almost anything that is advertised is actually unnecessary.

As I near the end of my Month of No, I can tell you from an honest wholesome place that I haven't missed a single thing this month. As an urge arose, I simply jotted it down on a piece of paper, much like a list to Santa. The desire is in a trusty spot but the urge to buy slowly fades.

The goal is to own less, not own more.

Will you commit to buying less?

Jennifer Burnham