Another new year, another new year’s resolution… this time we have decided to further our non-new-stuff buying by trying, over the coming year, to let people know what and why we are doing this in the hope they might not buy us new things and maybe that they might think a little about what, where and how they shop. Ed and i had an interesting talk about this, about whether or not we want to tell people what we do, whether we will sound ‘preachy’. actually preachy is a good word, because we decided that it comes down to the distinction between what we ‘know’ to be ‘fact’ (ie peak oil, global warming, too much stuff thrown away, seas full of plastic, toxic soil etc)and the things that we ‘believe” in, like that less work (in the sense of 9-5, never-see-the-product-of-your-labour kind of work) and more time is a good thing, that having less stuff is good for the soul indeed that wanting less stuff is good for the soul.
We talked long and hard about why we are doing this. We went through the different levels from the personal to the global, and here’s what we thought…
On a global level we have global warming, we have peak oil. We have pollution from oil spills, air pollution from burning oil, coal, gas. We have environmental disasters which may be linked to global warming.
Then we can zoom in a bit more, we have toxic soil from landfill, seas full of floating plastic, people moved off land due to intensive prawn farming, soya growing, palm oil etc, we have deforestation.
We have terrible unethical working conditions in diamond and metal mines for our mobile phones and laptops. We have child labour for our cheap goods.
We have goods shipped around the world for processing, then back again for packaging, then back again for sale. We have areas like the straight of gibraltar, the busiest area for container shipping where tuna, dolphins and whales are threatened.
zoom in again, on a more local level we have supermarkets throwing away massive amounts of food while people starve,transporting goods nationwide using huge amounts of energy. we have local businesses suffering, undercut by cheap chain stores. We have houses full of things that are thrown out because they are so cheap to replace they are not mended. We have streets lined with black bin bags every week. we kid ourselves that because we recycle some stuff we are doing a good thing, even if this recycling ends up in landfill, or being shipped to china.
We have houses full of new plastics, off-gassing, full of formaldehydes. bad for the environment to produce, possibly bad for us to be around. And we have so much stuff we don’t use, yet work so hard to earn more money to buy even more stuff…
crazy old world. poor old world.