Obligatory Consumption Must End
Perhaps I’m making a mistake by even posting this, but it’s something I wanna talk about and I’m hoping this short preface will mitigate the danger of making this entry.
The danger I’m referring to is giving people the idea that the responsibility of saving the environment comes down to individual, non-political actions. To be clear, the majority of environmental damage is being caused by large corporations and government inaction. Individual efforts will not fix the environment.
That doesn’t mean individual actions have no effect. They just have little effect. If you’re only going to do two things for the environment, I would say get involved politically, don’t have children, and don’t read the rest of this entry. However, if you want to help the environment in every way you possibly can and learning more ways to do that won’t overwhelm and deter you from making any effort, then please continue reading.
‘Tis The Season
The timing of this entry couldn’t be more relevant. It’s the holiday season. The holidays aren’t supposed to be about gifts, but they are, at least in large part. Loved ones are expected to give you gifts and you’re expected to give them gifts, even if neither of you needs anything. Often, these gifts are brand new, requiring long supply chains and lots of resources to manufacture.
This tradition of gratuitous consumption is environmentally harmful and needs to end.
I understand that giving gifts is the way some people show that they care. That’s fine. I’m not against gifts, just overconsumption. Give personal gifts, things that can be made using materials you already have. Gift items that are repairable and that last. Gift old stuff that you don’t use anymore but someone else might want.
Gifts come in many forms, not just as expensive goods. Ask your loved ones if there’s anything you can do for them as a favor. Offer to fix their leaky roof or clean their computer or something else within your abilities. Take them to one of their favorite places or do a shared activity they particularly enjoy. There are so many other ways to show a person you care than buying stuff from store shelves.
Unfortunately, the holiday season is no holiday for the environment. So I just wanted to put this entry out there. Maybe some people will take the advice instead of stampeding over each other for cheap Chinese junk that’s only gonna get used once.