Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Escaping Advertisements

[This post is part of Bridgewater State University's Blogfest for Social Media Week. Today's theme: technology]

I just found this awesome add-on for Firefox that replaces internet ads with art! It's called Add-Art and it's free.

I just downloaded it, and this is how it looks:

The picture of the kids is where the ad would have been--poetry websites have the worst ads. They often have sound, but it seems that Add-Art eliminates the sound, too.

So far, most of the art consists of surprisingly un-arty photos, because the current installation, See Space, was created by children ages 6-15 at an after school program. But it's still fun, and the collection changes periodically.

(From adbusters.org)

(From adbusters.org)

The average United Statesian sees thousands of advertisements each day. In Europe, there is a ban on advertisements that 'exhort children to purchase or to ask their parents or others to make inquiries or purchases' and in Sweden all advertisements aimed at children under 12 are banned.

In 2007, Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest city, banned all outdoor advertisements, including pamphlets, in an attempt to reduce "visual pollution."

Sao Paulo before and after the advertising ban

Once the billboards were all taken down, there was a lot of waste, which Brazilian designers TOUCH and StraaT made tote bags out of.

Some ideas on how to combat advertisements:

1. Try a Buy Nothing Day, and maybe even invite others to do it with you. It might be harder than you'd expect.

2. Avoid buying from big companies:
       For clothes, try thrift shops
       For food, try farm stands and small grocery stores (especially ones that offer local food)
       For gifts, make something by hand
       For hygiene products, make them yourself (from items bought at small grocery stores)
       For gas... bike? Take the train? When you do need gas, it's probably better to buy from an independently-owned gas station, like Easton Gas

3. Download Add-Art so at least you won't have to look at ads when you're on the computer.

Any other ideas?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Reusable hygiene products, etc.

Instead of tampons: a menstrual cup

I recently bought the Diva Cup. It's comfortable and doesn't dry out your vagina, like tampons sometimes do. Also, you can wear it for up to 12 hours at a time and it doesn't cause Toxic Shock Syndrome, which I'm always afraid I'll get because I forget to change my tampon.

Another benefit of getting the Diva Cup is that, at $40ish, it's cheaper than buying disposables because you only replace it once a year. And of course it's better for the environment.

Figure out which brand to buy with this online quiz: Which menstrual cup is right for you?

Instead of pads: cotton pads & pantiliners

It's nice to have these for the lighter days of your period.

They are available on Etsy and Lunapads (Lunapads' are kind of big, so I'd get the smallest size), or you can make them yourself with some old flannel or other fabric. There are a ton of tutorials online.

Instead of tissues: a handkerchief

I recently started keeping a handkerchief in my purse and I love it. You can just wash it in the washing machine every once in a while, and even put it in the dryer. They're $5 at Lunapads, but they're easy to find at thrift stores, so I definitely recommend buying one used.

Instead of paper napkins: cloth napkins

Cloth napkins are cuter and more environmentally friendly. You can just leave them at each person's spot at the table and wash them when they are clearly dirty, instead of after every meal. They are easy to make, find at thrift shops, or buy on Etsy.