Week 12: Radically Simple.

garlicPIN ITI’ve found myself frustrated this week. I’ve been reading a few different books from people who have done similar projects and it would seem that this period of frustration and exasperation is par for the course. So is other peoples dislike for the project. People will always have mixed opinons and feel the need to argue their point. That’s ok with me, that’s the beauty of free speech isn’t it? Some people seem to think I’m trying to make life more complicated than it needs to be. When actually what I’m doing is exactly the opposite.

When it comes to it’s essence this project is actually unbelievably simple. So simple in fact, it’s a bit radical. I see something  I might want, a new t-shirt (my favourite is sporting two new holes) or something that I used to think we needed (a new water bottle perhaps? mine was swallowed by playgroup). Now I just buy none of it. We make do. Sometimes I carry an old plastic milk bottle with me for a few days as a water bottle. It’s not at all glamorous. It’s not going to win me any style awards… but it’s practical and it’s fine. What would I do with a style award anyway?

Now when I come to little road blocks I just look for the most simple answer. I was reading a few articles last week that talked about projects like this one as being meaningless and rife with middle class privilege. And whilst I certainly agree with the latter, the former I struggle with.

The Nothing New project certainly reeks of privilege. Of course it does. We live in a privileged country, full of privileged people who are constantly crying poor because they are spending money on stuff they don’t need. Underprivileged people don’t get the luxury of ‘choosing’ to not purchase anything, they just purchase nothing because they have no choice. But does that mean that this project and ones like it are meaningless?

No. I don’t think so.

I struggled (and still do struggle) with this idea for a few weeks. Does it mean nothing to take a stand against consumerism even though the consumer machine just keeps on turning without you in it? Is it a meaningless statement of belief? No. I don’t think so.

Imagine if we all stopped buying shit we don’t need just for the sake of buying it. Imagine if we all demanded that things things we DID buy were produced ethically like Pip from Meet Me at Mikes is doing with her ethical clothing project this year… Imagine the shift in the economy. Imagine the shift in the world. It’s a complex balance of economic viability and sustainability – but really as a concept it is radically simple. Stop buying shit you don’t need. Stop buying shit that isn’t produced ethically. Stop turning a blind eye because it’s ‘easier.’ Demand rights for workers on the other side of the world who are slaving away for barely enough money to eat to produce your shitty quality t-shirt that you are going to wear once and then lose at the back of your overflowing closet. Take a bit of responsibility for the part we all play in the crazy waste and damage that is happening across the globe…

Open your eyes for a moment and really look at the way that we live. Is it responsible? Is it sustainable? Is it really worth all the damage it’s causing? And then, even if just for a week… Just stop buying in to it.

It’s radically simple… and it definitely means something to me.

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  • March 25, 2014 - 9:21 am

    Victoria Hoch - I don’t think its meaningless and I see your point but I also think that “Need” is subject to interpretation.
    DO you really need internet? Or you could just write down your work and go publish it in a cafe?
    Do you really need your mobile phone or can you go and call someone the old school way?

    Also, if you work in an office, there is absolutely NO WAY you can come with a t-shirt with 2 wholes on it so yes, in that case, you need to buy new clothes, maybe not 10 new shirts, but maybe 1 or 2.
    etc, etc, etc.

    I hate to think that a lot of things we buy are not ethically produced but in the other hand, ethically producing everything is unsustainable in a world with 7 billion people unfortunately. and that’s a very very tricky situation.
    I would love to eat only organic food, but it is crazy to think that feeding the world organically would be sustainable. It just wouldn’t…there is no way we can produce enough food.

    Also, It breaks my heart every time I read about (for example) the clothing workers in Pakistan, but in the other hand, if we boycott the brands, ultimately they will have no job at all.

    So my point is, we need to find the balance between everything. But I’m in no way criticizing your Project Sash, I think its amazing and I think you have the correct tools to do it, the correct type of Job to do it, live in the right place, etc..etc…

    Anyway, that was just my opinion.

  • March 25, 2014 - 9:39 am

    Sommer - Right on girl. In the end all the material crap doesn’t follow us to the grave, nor do people remember your water bottles (and if they do and if they care then they might not be “friends”), or if your house was shiny and pretty, etc etc etc. what they will remember of ones legacy, or be touched by, or tell stories of, is whether you were present, compassionate, a risk taker, a good mother, etc etc etc. Keep going sash, you can do it! You are making a difference.


  • March 25, 2014 - 1:02 pm

    femmegypsy - It means everything to take this stand against consumerism! Your posts on it are my favourite reads too. So very inspiring, raw and honest.ReplyCancel

  • March 25, 2014 - 6:40 pm

    Emma Crawford - Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
    Margaret MeadReplyCancel

  • March 26, 2014 - 6:02 pm

    Georgina - It’s inspiring Sash. I have been following your story since you left Melbourne and I’m constantly in awe of your ability to continue wanting and doing good.ReplyCancel

  • March 26, 2014 - 10:10 pm

    the SAGA by Steinsdotter - You say this in such a beautiful way, and your message is clearly coming across 🙂ReplyCancel

  • March 27, 2014 - 9:46 pm

    rachel - Oh man, I’ve been really trying to work myself up to embarking on a similar project. It’s so easy to try to find a hundred excuses why it will be too hard. But the tide is turning. I might be coming around. I sure hope that I am. I need to do this, as much for me as for the greater good.ReplyCancel

  • March 31, 2014 - 12:18 pm

    Erin - I’ve been following this brave journey of yours and want you to know what an inspiration you have been in a rough time for me and my family. I just want to say a big F YES to everything you’ve just said. Thank you!ReplyCancel

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