Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Green Consumers

I often cringe at the term “green consumer”. A lot of people love to shop, and I think that many of them see “green shopping” as “doing their bit” – whilst still being able to shop shop shop. Aren’t I good buying this hemp cd holder made by Guatamalan peasants!

At the end of the day it comes down to the simple fact that modern society has been built on this desire to consume, and it is a pattern of behaviour that has quickly become part of our psyche.

I certainly don’t think it helps to identify ourselves as consumers – green or any other type.

Ethical consumerism is a bit of a paradox – I don’t see how you can identify yourself as a consumer and consider yourself ethical.

The truth is we need to work less, spend less and do less.

This is a point of view that has been expressed much more clearly than I can by a comment that I have noticed posted on a few different blogs recently, and I think it is well worth repeating here as well. The piece is written by someone called sushil yadav and you can see the full piece here.
You may not agree with everything in the article but it will certainly make you think.

Here are some of the best quotes:

The Environment can be saved only if we stop production of most [more than 99% ] of the consumer goods we are making today. The Environment cannot be saved by recycling. The attempt of an industrial society to save the environment by recycling is like shooting someone 10,000 times and then trying to save him by taking out one bullet.

We can never save the environment by doing something. We can only save it by doing less of what we have been doing - much less of what we have been doing. If we want to save environment we will have to reduce human activity [overactivity] by 99%.
We can have Sustainable Lifestyle.
We cannot have Sustainable Development.
Development can never be sustainable.
Sustainability and Development cannot exist together.
Development and Sustainability are opposites.
Development and Sustainability are contradictory.
Sustainable Living is associated with consuming less – being satisfied with a simple and frugal life.
Development is associated with never ending desires – always wanting more.
Industrial Societies can never be sustainable – When you make thousands of consumer goods you kill Nature - you kill Animals, Trees, Air, Water and Land.
A Society that does mental work [city based] can never be sustainable - it will keep on making consumer goods - destroying the environment moment by moment.
Only agriculture-based societies that do physical work can be sustainable.

1 comment:

Alec said...

Hi David,

Couldn't agree more. As you know I've always been against buying presents as an indication of how much you like someone.

If you just bring a shoebox full of new items into the house once a week, that's 52 shoeboxes full of stuff every year that needs to be cleaned, sorted, stored and eventually thrown out.

For the forseeable future I intend buying nothing.

alec