For those of you that are interested, I thought I would explain my opinion on consumerism, as I'm sure in time those that read this blog will come to find that my consistency on this issue is questionable. I find two areas of my life to be in direct opposition, which in many ways has given rise to this blog: my "things" (i.e. products that I have purchased) and the environment. I, as with most people, am willing to tolerate a certain amount of negative impact in the name of convenience, enjoyment and practicality. Two years ago I would have scoffed at the idea of making (mostly) my own food. I think it would be very difficult indeed to have absolutely no negative impact, no matter how hard you try. I also think that some of the "difficulty" and "inconvenience" that we believe exists in doing certain things is a matter of perception only. An interesting development for me is that what I used to percieve as inconvenient is now becoming more enjoyable.
For instance, as I mentioned in a previous post, I love my breadmaker. I promise not to post about breadmakers so regularly in the future, but it is a kind of first step when you start making a lot of your own food. Any breadmaker would probably be equally as adored in my eyes because all I really care about is the end product. I am still a consumer because I bought the breadmaker, but hopefully less so. It has been quite some time since Tim or I have bought any bread and I imagine whatever my mother paid for the machine many years ago at the time of its purchase, has long since been offset. I've gotten to the point now where I don't see making bread as an inconvenience.
Maybe we have just gotten out of touch, as a society, with the processes required to make things, specifically food. I think it serves our consumption-focused economy and all the various businesses it supports to preserve a bit of a mystique around these processes, so fewer people try to find out how to do things like make bread and more products are purchased. True, the first time you do something like make your own bread, you really face an uphill battle: you must find a breadmaker, which costs far more money than a loaf of bread, you have to source the ingredients and measuring implements, and you have to spend some time figuring out the recipe and the machine. After that first time, however, it becomes exponentially easier. To illustrate my point, the following picture shows two loaves of beautiful bread made by a friend of mine the first time he made his own bread. I showed him the basics (just a French bread) and this is what he did on his own later that same week: