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The Story of Stuff and the Next Generation

The Story of StuffMy mother just turned 65 and, wise woman that she is, requested no presents. She did however, request that we all go down to the Starlight Lounge and dance our fool butts off! She is a woman who has her priorities straight: people are fun, stuff is…well, it’s just stuff.

This past week, I went into a Wal-Mart for the first time in about two years and I thought my head was going to explode just from the sheer volume of stuff and the incessant beeping of the registers! As I looked around all I could see was next year’s landfill! I was pretty close; in The Story of Stuff you will find the shocking statistic that 99% of the stuff we buy, we toss out.

Like any other bad behavior that is perpetuated generationally, we adults not only have to be come aware of, and change, our own habits, but find effective means to help our children not repeat our mistakes.

Older kids, 12 and up, may enjoy the Story of Stuff and be thoughtful about the implications. Younger children may just end up feeling helpless. I’ve mentioned Eco-phobia before and feel it necessary to reiterate that we risk making children numb to issues if they get too much bad news too soon. I thought it was great the the Story of Stuff blog links to kid-produced You Tube responses!

The reality is, $15 BILLION dollars is spent by marketers to turn your child into a good consumer. It is now “accepted” that children as young as 2 can identify brand logos and are therefore target markets. According to Juliet Schor, author of Born to Buy, kindergardners can identify almost 300 logos. UGH.

New American Dream has wonderful, download-able resources. They also point out that schools are often marketing vehicles. Do you know what your school’s policies are regarding advertising in the school?

I appreciated Jennifer’s post on swapping kiddie gear and think this is the kind of steps we need to take to get our kids from getting on the consumer treadmill in the first place. What are you doing to stymie the marketing?

[This post was written by Lee Welles.]


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