It’s that time of year when people buy consumer goods to express their appreciation that other people exist. Yet, the world around us in suffering from consumerism-led climate change, what is a person to do? The simple solution is to not buy physical gifts, but that’s not always practical.
Tanja Hester has solutions for us in her book Wallet Activism that provides guidance on how to think about buying and shopping ethically. It’s an easy to understand guide for these complicated times.
I like that you consider price points on either end of the spectrum. A lot of people assume that shopping ethically is too expensive, but you’re pointing out that it needs to be affordable to be widely effective.
Of course, if you want to buy something expensive and high quality under the “buy less, keep it longer” philosophy, then that’s fine. But it’s not realistic to promote that as something everyone can do. And the best ways to make meaningful change involve actions that are accessible and have a low barrier to entry.
Also, most of the stuff that ends up being good for other people or good for the climate crisis is also good for your own finances. It’s not a choice of, “Do I buy this shirt or that shirt?” There’s also the choice of, “Could I buy a secondhand shirt, or could I buy no shirt and use what I have?” There’s nothing better for your personal finances than buying less or buying less new stuff.