I don’t need a bag, thank you.

This is another Burdastyle pattern: the Charlie Bag.  It’s technically a shopping bag, for groceries and the like, but I modified it to be my new purse.  I made the pattern smaller and used a heavy, shiny twill for the outside and a charmeuse for the lining, with some nice contrasting yellow topstitching.

I have to admit I thought the lining would add more pizazz than it did…but I still use it everyday now.  I actually really love it.  It’s the perfect size.

But what’s really great about it is not only that it’s big enough that when I buy small things at the store I can say, “I don’t need a bag, thank you”, but really because I now buy less unnecessary things at the store.  When I see that nice bag, pretty skirt, or a nice dress, I mostly think, “I think I could find enough patterns to cobble together to make something pretty damn close to that and therefore not have to spend more money than I have on it.”

That is a truly beautiful thing in the name of reducing my personal consumption.  And it’s also a beautiful thing in the name of curbing my addiction to handing my money over to others for things I don’t need or even really want that much.

Sometimes I think many people (myself definitely included) forget that reducing consumption (and thus conserving precious natural resources) is the most important way to do the ever-so-sexy reducing our footprint thing (I say that sarcastically, but I’m thrilled people are all about it actually).  While I don’t think it’s helpful to scare everyone with the concept of overhauling our entire lifestyle, I think most people are not against the idea of changing their behavior within reason…changing those lightbulbs, unplugging things when not using them, taking transit when the option is there, and so on.  I also think people would not be against larger changes if planned and transitioned into properly.  So what really gets me is people that think they’re progressive, that they “get it”, by simply acknowledging that climate change is a problem — that it actually exists, but then refuse to make those changes that so many other people are willing to make.

My case in point here is, well….Al Gore.  Yes. Al Gore.  Nobel peace prize be damned, that man has made my job (my actual rent-paying job) so much harder.  Al Gore has done more for spreading the science of climate change than any individual and I more than appreciate that.  However, when asked about his 10,000 square foot house, he seems to brush it off as some sort of inconsequential and understandable choice he’s made.  As though one should just disconnect his crusade from him and have sympathy for his inability to put outrageously extravagant personal desire aside.   Instead he offers electric cars and the equivalent of $1/gallon gas as the bright solution, so he and many other auto-addicted Americans can maintain their current lifestyles.

The renewable energy portion of his plan is fantastic, but the problem with this is that the traction that climate change gave advocates for compact, transit-oriented development almost vanishes when people can point to the most famous climate change advocate and say they’re being told by environmentalists themselves that nothing needs to change (with transportation at least) except the engine in our cars.   Advocates for walkable neighborhoods and compact development aren’t just advocates because of the climate change benefits — there are many benefits associated with this kind of development:  lower energy consumption from denser development (less heating and cooling per person as opposed to heating and cooling 10,000 square feet just for Al and Tipper), which clearly does have climate change benefits; an urban form that people can connect to outside of an automotive bubble; the ability to walk and bike places and thus stave off that ever-present issue of obesity and diabetes; freedom for children and the elderly to get around their neighborhoods without depending on people aged 20-60, who I think can be overwhelmed as chauffeurs in the current suburban reality; and a more vibrant place to live in where people may actually see their neighbors and pass them on a walk through the neighborhood, sort of like my neighborhood now, which is not some crazy Manhattan-like zoo riddled with high-rises and concrete, but a place that probably resembles a 50s suburb more than that oppressive, intimidating city so many people are turned off by.

So now, when people I already have to argue with about climate change solutions can point to Al Gore and say, “Look, we don’t have to change a damn thing, we can still get fat and overuse because electric cars will save the day” I can only sigh and begin the tirade all over again…

Why must each crisis be fixed with tunnel vision?


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5 Responses to “I don’t need a bag, thank you.”

  1. Michelle Says:

    Thank you. That is exactly what I have been saying for a long time. You rock!
    -Props from Texas

    p.s. Now all of my friends read your blog too 🙂

  2. Marjorie Says:

    Hi, I would like to try my hand at this bag as well but burdastyle took the pattern down. Do you have a copy? I would like to purchase it if possible.
    Nice bag:)

  3. Mmmona Says:

    Hi Marjorie–I don’t think I have it anymore! I think I had just opened it from Burdastyle…sorry!! I’ll check again at home, but I don’t think it’s on my computer…I’m surprised they took it down.
    Good luck!!

  4. Thai Bags Says:

    Yes ! That right ^^

  5. Jax Ealy Says:

    Major thanks for the article.Thanks Again. Awesome.

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