Fabulously Out There

Putting the Fabulous in East Boston since 2005 -I have written about my life, my dog(s), my sex life, my my love life, my dating, my non-dating, my job searches and my soul searches since 2005. This is my space and my opinions. I use my space freely and voice my opinions freely. I call my readers possums, cause it's a cute word, not because they aren't fabulous and stunningly handsome and beautiful. :)

House Hunters October 13, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — englandia @ 11:10 am

Last night I was watching House Hunters International and had to giggle because the show is actually a good example of a fairly profound difference between our two worlds.

Working in the field I work in and dealing with living a sustainable life and making this planet just a little bit better with what I do, it always strikes me when I watch the US version and there is a man and a woman with toddler and a baby on the way and they say “Well, 1900 square feet just isn’t big enough. We have outgrown this space.”

That’s 175 square meters. That’s a lot of square meters! In Europe that is COMPLETELY acceptable for a family of 4. My parents had a very large house that was probably 250, but then my dad made a decent amount of money and we had one bathroom and two bedroom we barely used and a sauna and so on and so forth, but you get my drift.

Always wanting more. Always bigger, always better. And then I watch House Hunters International and people in Italy or Amsterdam will buy an apartment and it’s maybe 1000 square feet and that’s plenty big.

Although I tend to be pretty good when it comes to cleaning out trash, I did clean out a lot of things when I moved this time again, reminding me that we all do own a lot of things we simply don’t need. Don’t get me wrong, while I am participating in No Impact Week (and you should too), I am not a “No Impact Woman”. I understand that we use things, buy things, use energy, travel, buy. I like nice things and I do shop. But I also believe that we all carry and inherent responsibility to do the best we can by our planet. So, I could afford a car, but I don’t owe one, because I don’t need one. I bought an apartment that’s as energy efficient as I could get for what I could afford, with all Energy Star appliances, great insulation, I shop the Farmer’s Market and Whole Food and Trader Joe’s when I can (but sometimes I don’t), I use smart light bulbs, I unplug appliances, I turn off lights when I don’t need them. I recycle, I reduce my trash as much as possible. I completely quit Diet Coke cans and even now buy rarely bottles. Used to live on that stuff, but I didn’t want to see the trash.

U.S. consumers and industry dispose of enough aluminum to rebuild the commercial air fleet every three months; enough iron and steel to continuously supply all automakers; enough glass to fill New York’s World Trade Center every two weeks.  ~Environmental Defense Fund advertisement, Christian Science Monitor, 1990

We can all do little things. The great thing about America is that when this country sets it’s mind to something, it can do amazing things in a very short time. Right now, they are way behind when it comes to solar and wind energy and recycling. But I think we are approaching a time, where people start to “get it” that, doing something for the environment, doesn’t mean you have to pull out the Birkenstock and tie yourself to a tree.  And once people get it, the innovation, the smarts and the money is here to make enormous strides and I am excited that I am part of this movement, due to my work and my life.

Capitalism is just fine, we all consume, but man, people just need to keep it in perspective. When you are a family of 2, you don’t need 2900 square feet of living space, that sucks energy out of your life. When I see that show and there are newlyweds in their early 20s and they say “We want 3-4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms”, I want to say “WOW, WHY?”….and “what’s next?” You have a baby and what, you need 5-6 bedroom for 3 people? Odd to me.

What do we really have when we die? What do we really want? Friendship. Love. Not stuff.

I leave you with two quotes I care about:

The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other.  It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich.  Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied… but written off as trash.  The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing.  ~John Berger

And more importantly:

You can never get enough of what you don’t need to make you happy.  ~Eric Hoffer


6 Responses to “House Hunters”

  1. Maribeth Says:

    It takes very little to make me happy. Healthy pups, healthy Hubby and a working laptop! lol!

  2. AmyB Says:

    WELL SAID! Just last night I was ranting about this snot-nosed couple (ok, they were 25-year old newlyweds) on Househunters looking at $450,000 houses and complaining about THE MOST RIDICULOUS things (“I see this one doesn’t have a fireplace…” Puhlease, they lived in FLORIDA!). It made me sick.

    I myself feel like I have too many things, that I’m always pushing my things from one area to the next in an attempt to find some peace and calm. When I get rid of yet another car load of stuff, it’s like the best day ever. Thanks for reminding me and others that it’s not always about getting, but giving and/or reusing.

  3. charlotte Says:

    It all depends on how the house is cut and how much wallspace there is. Honestly, ours looks pretty, but it wastes a lot of space, which is why we’re running out of the same pronto. The hubs wants his own office for all of his books and crap. I want my own office to do office stuff in. Baby needs her own room. Then, there’s el bedroom and voila–4 bedroom house! I could do without the extra front room and the TV room and the extra bathroom because, heck, we hardly use them. One thing I’m going to look at with the next house: No two-storey deal any more. AND more hardwood/ less tile.

  4. Not So Little Woman Says:

    With ya there. I often think about the size of some of my friends’ houses in this country vs. at home. Such a huge difference…. Or the fact that so many of my friends grew up in an apartment. That is so normal. Nobody can afford a house. I mean, my dad was looking at apts. to share with his girlfriend, and they were nuts at the idea of having so much terrace area in one apartment. That NEVER happens. We think of space as a luxury, not a demand. :-)

  5. Emblita Says:

    Yes yes… I love watching those shows too. But I also wonder about the HUGE houses in the states. Our house is 156m2 and there is 4 of us plus dog… and we have 2 extra rooms… TWO! And isn’t the heating/cooling cost enormous? Both in terms of cash and environment? just wondering :)

  6. Kate Says:

    I agree with you! I was just discussing house hunters and how interesting it was how much smaller the houses/apartments are. Then you have the 23 year old newlyweds in the US who want a four bedroom home!

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