Start 2022 with a new mindset of buying time instead of material objects. Researchers continue to find more evidence that for a fulfilling life one should eschew material gains for temporal gains. In practice this means that, when given the choice between spending your money on a consumer good or a an opportunity to spend more time doing something you enjoy, you should prioritize the activity instead of the object.
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.
Solutions to seriously mitigate climate change exist, but they are not free. You know what is free right now? Emitting greenhouse gases. Let’s change that.
By joining Certified Climate Neutral, businesses can choose to pay for all of their carbon emissions and accelerate the implementation of low-carbon technologies. Becoming Climate Neutral Certified is so affordable, immediate, and measurably impactful that it should be the minimum standard for what it means to be a sustainable business.
As the climate crisis continues there are many ways that we all can try to slow it down. The biggest changes need to happen at the political level enforcing sustainable practices, in the meantime there are things you can do as an individual. The easiest thing to do is buy less and switch to low-carbon transit; however, there is even more options ahead of you. If you’re looking for ideas and inspiration then the Guardian has you covered! They recently ran an article looking at some peopel who have already converted to a low-carbon lifestyle.
All our vegetables are seasonal, grown either in our garden or on a local organic farm. My meals are 80% vegan, and 20% vegetarian. Vegan food is delicious â€“ itâ€™s a cuisine.
I try to reuse and repair my belongings. I use the money I save to spend more on products I do buy. My clothes are either secondhand or organic. I have a Fairphone â€“ itâ€™s designed so that the individual parts can be easily replaced when they break. I donâ€™t buy wrapping paper, I reuse an old duvet cover I cut up into squares.
In total, weâ€™ve reduced our homeâ€™s carbon emissions by 93%. Iâ€™ve enjoyed making all these changes â€“ theyâ€™ve been fun â€“ and I feel part of a big movement. I want to be able to say to the next generation: I tried to prevent runaway climate change. If I didnâ€™t, I would feel I was committing a wrong.â€
Fast fashion relies on mass production and mass consumption in order to survive. The fashion industry as a whole requires a lot of energy, water, and logistics to function in its current form, which means the days of current fast fashion will have to come to an end. People are catching on that disposable clothing isn’t good for the environment or for your bank account. To circumvent fast fashion consumers are turning to vintage stores for clothing and some new styles that come out of combining old fabrics into new styles.
Clothes come and go at the Basingstoke home of Sarah Fewell, too. In fact, so many parcels come and go that she knows her postman by his first name (Jay). Fewell has always loved cutting up old clothes, sticking on studs, even at 14 when most of her friends were into Hollister. But now she has turned her passion for preloved clothes into a sustainable version of fast fashion.
Fewell runs a shop called Identity Party on the website Depop, which since being established in 2011 has offered its 10 million users a blend of eBay-style trading with Instagram-style posting.Her brand is â€œa lot of 80s, 90s, quite bohemian, grungyâ€. She especially loves â€œselling things with animals on, a good old ugly jumper and anything by St Michael.â€