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Inconspicuous Consumption

Friday – 06/04/2021 — I’ve long been an advocate for the reduction of conspicuous consumption, but I never thought much about the inconspicuous side of that equation. Until I found this book by Tatiana Schlossberg.


One quarter of the book is about recognizing just how much electricity our cell phones and TVs and laptops and desktops and tablets and game thingies use—without our ever being aware of it. Anything, for instance, that has a clock or a timer in it. [The other three-quarters of the Schlossberg book covers food, fashion, and transportation.] After 20 or 3pages, I unplugged Alexa, which had the double benefit of not having her listening to every word I speak 24/7.


Although, come to think of it, I HAVE been a proponent of reducing the inconspicuous consumption of natural resources. How many people leave the water running while they’re washing dishes instead of turning the water off as they scrub and on only to rinse? How many people bother to turn lights off when they leave a room? Or stop themselves from turning a light on if they don’t really need it?


Years ago, my then-husband took me to work with him one evening—why I will never know, since it turned out he intended to leave me at the side door where we entered while he went up to his office on the third floor. That was fine with me—I’d taken a book with me, after all. But there were no chairs in that entrance hallway. The guard who sat at a [brightly lit] desk near the door motioned me into a dark conference room nearby. There were no light switches. “Don’t worry,” he assured me, “I’ll get the lights turned on.”


I waited a few moments only to find that “turning on the lights” in that one room involved turning them on in EVERY room on that floor on that side of the building.


All so I could read my book.


The next time I was invited to keep my husband company as he drove to and from an evening session at work, I declined.



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