The constant pressures of consumerism just keep getting worse and worse. This year, it seems we don’t just have “Black Friday’ to contend with, we have ‘Black Friday week’. I understand that many businesses have it bad, but we have to recognise that a healthy and happy society does not have to involve endless consumerism and unending economic growth.
Buying more, and buying still more, won’t fix what’s wrong with our society. And though we should do what we can to help out small, sustainable businesses, we should not make the mistake of thinking that we are helping out by consuming more. At best, all season buying frenzies can do is shore up fragile systems for a little longer. And that helps no one in the long run.
The reason I am writing this is that I recently had a conversation with someone who mentioned that they felt it was ‘right’ to buy more this year in the run up to Christmas to ‘keep our economy going’.
But is it really right to keep our economy going as it has been? And even if we do consider that to be desirable, should we aim to do so at all costs?
‘Buy Nothing Day’ was set up in protest against mass consumerism, and is a day of protests and action in various different countries around the world. Instead of buying, we should enjoy the wonders of the natural world, and reflect on the true costs of consumerism.
Not just for one day a year, but for many days a year, buying nothing (or as little as possible) is certainly a very good idea.
If you do truly need something, of course, you should buy it. But you should always try to look at its entire lifecycle and what it truly cost. And you should choose the option with the least negative impact to people and planet.
And rather than ‘supporting’ Amazon and large corporations, why don’t we all make sure that when we do truly need to buy something, and have exhausted reuse and upcycling options, that we support local, sustainable craftsmen and women and artists whenever we can? Supporting small-scale, local, sustainable makers and doers really is the ‘right’ thing to do.