Skip to main content

Sustainable Shopping, Feng Shui, Suze Orman and Debt

Published October 27, 2009

by dbazely

The personal debt of North Americans - both in Canada and the US is staggering. Oprah's "O" magazine's long-time financial advisor, Suze Orman, has published a great book on Women & Money that tells the reader how to track their personal spending. Apparently many North Americans can't do this. Suze makes the link between the lack of basic awareness of where the money's going and personal debt. The Certified General Accountants of Canada 2009 report, "Where has the money gone: The state of Canadian household debt in a stumbling economy" makes this link eminently clear. At the same time, there are tons of tv shows and books on how to declutter your life. They draw a clear connection between personal stress and the accumulation of stuff - as in buying it from the mall. A search of available book titles with the keyword "Feng Shui" - which, in North America, is basically about getting harmony into your life by throwing out stuff, returned 606 titles.

So, here's the thing - most people actually feel happier and calmer in emptier spaces with less stuff in them. If everyone bought LESS stuff, for many people, there would be LESS debt. These people would then REDUCE their ecological footprint and their resource consumption. They would also INCREASE their personal sustainability index. Such a simple idea, yet seemingly so difficult for most North Americans to accomplish.  Has it become easier during the current recession?  And will the notion of living within one's means and differentiating more between needing and wanting become entrenched before our ice caps melt? I don't know the answer to these questions, but they are certainly something that I think about a lot.

Dawn Bazely

Posted in: Blogs | IRIS Director Blog | Shopping the Talk