Providing tools and support to families, citizens, and activists to counter our consumerist culture and to create new social norms about how to have a high quality of life and a reduced ecological footprint.
Resources for Parents
Our children are bombarded by marketers’ pitches at stores, at home, in school, and now even on school buses. Check out New Dream's guide Tips for Parenting in a Commercial Culture to learn many insights into protecting your child from marketer’s manipulations.
Also, check out our guide that offers 12 inventive ways that you can spend time with family and friends outside of the commercial culture. Good Times Made Simple: The Lost Art of Fun is based on a very simple premise: in our hectic day-to-day lives, it’s easy to lose sight of some of the things that bring us real joy—connections with family, friends, and nature. This guide offers alternatives to commercial TV, video games, and trips to the mall—describing ways to share stories, carve, stargaze, play, sing, and many more. We hope it helps you rediscover the simple pleasures of good, old-fashioned fun.
For fun family activities you can do at home, the website Built by Kids is devoted to do-it-yourself projects that parents and children can collaborate on, like herb gardens planted in a wheelbarrow, refurbished tatami tables, and handmade wagons.
"Depressurizing" Birthday Parties
For tips on hosting more rewarding (and cheaper!) birthday celebrations for your kids, check out the website Birthdays Without Pressure, which offers ideas for parents as well as a list of action steps you can take in your community to "de-pressure" birthdays. Another nonprofit, Milk and Bookies, helps parents plan birthday parties focused around collecting, inscribing, and donating books for children to a charity.
Advocate for Change!
Corporate Accountability International recently demanded that the fast-food chain McDonald’s retire Ronald McDonald, a pusher of bad dietary norms to children for two generations. It is time for Ronald to step down, just as Joe Camel did. Read CAI's report Clowning with Kid's Health and then contact McDonald’s and ask them to "retire Ronald," using the Retire Ronald website.
- Get Real: What Kind of World Are You Buying? by Mara Rockliff. This frank, teen-friendly manifesto reveals what young people are really buying when they spend money on a burger, a cheap t-shirt, or a cell phone—and points the way to better choices, both for people and the planet.
- Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture, by Peggy Orenstein. "An important exploration of the burgeoning girlie-girl culture and what it could mean for our daughters’ identities and their futures."
- “Commercialism in Children's Lives" by Susan Linn, in Worldwatch Institute's State of the World 2010
- Children’s Exposure to TV Advertising in 1977 and 2004 by U.S. Federal Trade Commission