“…our disconnection from what we consume. If we all had to grow our own food, we wouldn’t waste a third of if (as we do now in the UK). If we had to make our own tables and chairs, we wouldn’t throw them out the moment we changed the interior décor. If we could see the look on the face of the child who, under the eyes of an armed soldier, cuts the cloth for the garment we contemplate buying on the high street, we’d probably give it a miss. If we could see the conditions in which a pig is slaughtered, it would put most of us off our bacon butty. If we had to clean our own drinking water, we sure as hell wouldn’t shit in it.”
Mark Boyle - The Moneyless Man
Today, Friday the 27th of November 2015 is considered to be the biggest shopping festival of the year, also (in) famously termed as Black Friday. People go out on a limb and buy more stuff than they need, even more stuff than they can consume and even more stuff than they can ever make sense of. Why? Because its cheap and because the rest of the world is also doing it.
Today, Friday the 27th of November 2015 has also been very smartly chosen (like every year) as the “International Buy Nothing Day”. The idea of it is not to stop people from buying on this chosen date, but it is to start understanding about one’s consuming behavior and starting a lasting lifestyle commitment to consuming less and producing less waste 1. People should start connecting with the things they consume, connecting with the people who make them and try to understand the implications of what they buy and what kind of processes they are giving their money to.
The Motto is simple “ Buy what you need, not what you want. “. Our choices has led us to industrialization, which brought a lot of nice goodies and with all the nice came the bad as well. The world got divided, the poor countries make and the rich countries consume. There is an incentive to have cheap labor in the world. The only way we can make a difference is by being aware of our choices. I find it funny that we have to pay a premium for “fair-trade” and are very comfortable with the default. Shouldn’t it be the other way round, that all products are “fair-trade” by default and the products that have had unfair procedures would be labeled as “unfair-trade”. I guess, that would be a good behavioral hack.
These are just some of my thoughts about consumerism. I like the idea of the International Buy Nothing Day, pushing us to be better humans, to be a better part of the society, be more aware of the world and our impact to it and taking a step by being the change we want to see. Remember,
“It is easier to fight for one’s principles than to live up to them.”
So, live up to your principles. Make sure you have some, if not, I think ^^ (up there) is a good starting point :) .