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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Simply put, a series on frugality and, well, simplicity, with a dusting of anti-consumerism

I realize it has been a while since my last post, but I get busy sometimes and forget about this blog. I am trying to integrate it into my daily schedule, but it is hard to add new things.

Anyway, I will be trying to write everyday about one thing I/we have done at my/our house to simplify and reduce our impact on the planet as well as become more self-sufficient.

Today's installment:

Get rid of your TV.

I haven't had a television (cable or satellite) for over three years. This is even more amazing considering the fact I have three three adolescent children in my home. Don't get me wrong, we watch entertaining shows and movies, we do it at our own discretion, and without a monthly fee (save the internet fees). My brother-in-law is in the same boat, he has a display, but no TV. I have another friend in the same situation too. We are all more active than many people I run into with TVs.

The first thing we noticed is the time. We seem to have more time because we aren't veg-ing in front of a non-stop consumption promoter. No more do we get hit in the face with hours of advertising trying to sell us stuff we don't need or even want. "There is a reason it is called programming". A friend of mine said that to me. She also pointed out how she felt like crap after watching TV at work once. She said she just felt like a bad person because she wasn't part of the group she was seeing portrayed on TV, it was subtle and subliminal. Luckily we are group of people that seem to be aware of how outside stimuli affects us.

It can be hard. It was for us, but we read a lot, and work in the garden. The transition to no TV happened while I was working at a high-end A/V retailer, building home theaters for the well-off in Olympia. This made the transition even more difficult because I was literally SURROUNDED by TVs.

Netflix, sorry. I do have netflix. But it is worth it. But, no ads.

They say the average American household watches over eight hours (combined) of television per day, and that by the time a child has grown to age 70 they will have spent 7-10 years (at ~28 hours per week) in front of a TV.

This is the biggest, and hardest, step to making an impact on your consumption and waste. Trust me. Or don't. It helped us greatly.