What would happen if we all slowed down our buying? Buying of things - upgraded phone, latest ipods, new toaster, nicer rug. Most of us have given these purchases a second thought in the last credit tight year. But how many are simply putting it off for while until things turn around - then we'll go out an spend spend spend, consume, consume, consume again. Perhaps not.

We are becoming more aware of the impact our purchasing behaviours and lifestyles are having on the environment. The thing is how many of us realise it and those who do how often do we think about it? When we read the green pages of the newspaper or every time we visit the supermarket or drive the car?

'Unless we change the direction in which we are headed we might end up where we are going.' This Chinese proverb sums it up superbly.

To help heal our product addiction and create a more ecologically and economically sustainable society we can as individuals take control of our tendency to over consume by choosing to think about every purchase we make and ultimately buy less. Some questions to help you make a thorough assessment when shopping for ... well anything these days... are:

Why do I need this product? Will something else serve the same purpose - possible something I already own?
How is the product actually produced?
What are the impacts of producing this product on the environment, society, and the individuals you made it?
Is it a necessity or is it a luxury?
How ethical is the company behind the brand?
Is it well made and made to last?
Can I buy it second hand or borrow it?
Can I make, build, create it myself from ingredients/materials/resources I already have?
Does it use compostable materials?
Does it use a lot of energy?

Granted some of the answers may take a bit of time to dig up but once you get the hang of asking these questions you start to know where the reliable and easy places to look are.

'Knowing is not enough: we must apply.

Willing is not enough; we must do