Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Rules

The Rules:

In brief, the rules of The Compact are to buy nothing new except food, essential medicine, consumables such as shampoo, and utilitarian socks and underwear. Some leniency is extended regarding children's pyjamas, gift items sold by local artisans, gift items received by charities, and fresh flowers from local shops. Professional art supplies are iffy, and videos should be rented, if not downloaded. Additionally, Compacters pass on what they no longer need and, in general, try to reduce their environmental footprint.

1) to go beyond recycling in trying to counteract the negative global environmental and socioeconomic impacts of U.S. consumer culture, to resist global corporatism, and to support local businesses, farms, etc. -- a step, we hope, inherits the revolutionary impulse of the Mayflower Compact
2) to reduce clutter and waste in our homes (as in trash Compact-er)
3) to simplify our lives (as in Calm-pact)

So, here goes for the rules:
  • First principle - don't buy new products of any kind (from stores, web sites, etc.)
  • Second principle - borrow or buy used.
  • A few exceptions - using the "fair and reasonable person" standard -- i.e., you'll know in your heart when you're rationalizing a violation:
    • food, drink, and necessary medicine (no elective treatments like Viagra or Botox)
    • necessary cleaning products, but not equipment (don't go out and buy the Dyson Animal, for example).
    • socks and underwear (utilitarian--non-couture or ornamental)
    • pajamas for the children
  • Utilitarian services (plumbers, electricians, auto mechanics, veterinarians, dog/house-sitters, fire/paramedics, dry cleaners, house cleaners, etc.) -- Support local and encourage used parts (rebuilt transmission, salvaged headlight unit, etc.)
  • Recreational services (massage, etc.) & local artisanal items - Good sources for gifts, but should not be over-indulged in for personal gratification
  • Charitable contributions (Seva, Heifer, and the like) - an even better source for gifts
  • Plants and cut flowers - Whenever possible, cultivate from free cuttings or seeds. Ok in extreme moderation (yo, incoming oxy) when purchased from local businesses (i.e., not the Target Garden Shop)--and again, within reason
  • Art supplies - First line of attack: SCRAP. When absolutely necessary (for the professionals and talented amateurs in the group), from local businesses
  • Magazines, newspapers, Netflix - renewals only, no new subscriptions. Even better to consume online
  • V ideo rentals and downloadable music files (non-material) -- freely shared and legal, please
    Some resources
    For fresh produce:
    • Terra Firma (like The Box, but community supported agriculture, entirely sourced from Yolo County farms.)
    For secondhand purchases and for recycling/donating:
    For spiritual support and guidance
    Please pool other great sources you find this year.
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