There are really very few "must-haves".
Food & water, shelter, your loved ones nearby, and a few other things. But an trade-in to the latest version of your cellphone? One more shirt to join the two hundred already jostling for space in your closet? "Sport" wheels on your car: the ones that really only make a difference if you actually took the car out on a race track? A particular brand of car?
Think about it carefully: where did you pick up the idea that you "must have" those things? Often you will find that it was planted in your brain (and the brains of your friends) by advertising. Advertising is companies' direct access to that button in your psyche that makes you open your wallet for even the most dubious purchases. It is relentless. And a lot of it comes through television.
So by turning off the TV you block the continual assault on your senses, and your common sense, by that endless string of commercials.
Don't get me wrong: I'm not into "minimalist" living, with one pair of jeans, one sleeping bag and one bowl and spoon. I like my comfort, thanks, and I like a good product. I just prefer to decide on my own just what is a good product, and when (and whether) I need it. I don't need to be told that by a company that makes the product. Besides, in my opinion these days companies are not out to make a product: they're out to make a profit. On us.
Going TV-free does get easier as you get used to it and make a new routine, but it can be tough at first. Especially for children, for whom it is especially important that they get peeled off their screens and booted outside. There is medical research that shows that children who play outside, even just an hour a day, are significantly less near-sighted than children who stay inside. Just for that it's worth it. And there are all the other benefits. Try the Campaign for a Commercial-free Childhood for some ideas on how to start, even if you don't have children.
Every fish-themed picnic bowl you don't buy, every cellphone upgrade that you skip, every short-lived plastic toy you pass by, is a win for the planet. I will contain myself and say nothing about 400HP throbbing gas guzzlers.
Happy Earth Day! Let's make something of it, today, tomorrow, and all the tomorrows.