"Every time you spend your money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want." - Anne Lappe
A friend of mine likes to buy what can only be described as “cheap tat” from certain ridiculously cheap Chinese marketplaces.
You know the ones I’m talking about.
It shouldn’t come as any great shock that “he gets exactly what he pays for”, and more often than not his cheap tat will work for a week before being tossed into landfill.
But, for the duration of its short-lived life, oh, how he delights in telling people how little it cost.
I started to get quite stressed, not only about his love of cheap tat, but the sheer wastefulness of it all.
Once upon a time we were a nation of fixers and menders; resources were in short supply and money was scarce, so we did what we had to do to make things last.
Nowadays, we live in a throwaway, disposable, consumer culture, filled with single-use plastics, limited life-span products and built-in obsolescence.
And I worry (I’m a big worrier), when I see my friend spending £5 to buy a Bluetooth speaker from a Chinese marketplace and have it shipped all the way to the UK. I worry about the fact that we’re wasting the Earth’s resources in the creation and consumption of so much stuff, and I worry about the damage we’re doing to the planet in having each of these items shipped. And don’t get me started on the carbon-footprint that each delivery generates!
Which is why, in my last post, I detailed the journey of your typical international purchase (read it here: https://witandwisdom.uk.com/blogs/news/introducing-our-planet-friendly-postage-policy)
I also outlined our recent postage restructuring which will reduce the carbon-footprint of your orders from Wit & Wisdom. Yep, it’s all happening at Wit & Wisdom HQ.
So today, I wanted to talk about this idea of Conscious Consumerism…..
What exactly is Conscious Consumerism? In simple terms, it’s something most of us do every single day. When you visit the supermarket, do you make a conscious decision to purchase pre-wrapped vegetables or loose vegetables? When buying a new winter coat, do you opt for a cheap jacket or invest in a more expensive garment you know will last beyond one season? In web parlance this is referred to as ‘positive purchasing’.
Conscious Consumerism hinges on personal responsibility and making small changes to offset the negative environmental effects of mass production. But what about the big corporations? Do they get off scot-free? By refusing to adopt more ethical practices we are unable to make positive purchasing decisions, so piling on the pressure is critical.
Unfortunately, there are those that consider Conscious Consumerism to be something of a budget basher. Supermarkets have huge buying power and their prices are hard to beat. So, how can you help when times are tight? Don’t panic! There’s so much you can do it’s enough to make you dizzy! Consider adopting these small steps (if you haven’t already):
- Repair and reuse electrical items when you can
- Replace your daily takeaway coffee with home-made in a portable mug
- Think about slashing your Christmas list - if you can, buy quality, meaningful items instead of cheap, plastic
- Consider switching to a ‘green’ energy supplier
- Purchase some of your weekly grocery shop from local vendors (and bring your own bags and containers)
- Look for the Leaping Bunny logo on toiletries and make-up. This is a confirmation that no animals have been harmed in the making of the product
- BUY LOCAL!
‘Save the Date!’ - the 7th December is Small Business Saturday (30th November in the US), so if you’re up for some festive shopping then it will be the perfect time to pick up Christmas bits from small businesses on your high street or from independent online marketplaces like Not On The High Street, Etsy, Folksy, (and all the rest!).
'Just a Card' indie week kicks off 25-29 November. This lovely campaign encourages us all to support and buy from smaller, independent retailers, even if it's 'just a card'. Learn more here: https://www.justacard.org/just-a-card-indie-week
My next post will take a closer look at some wonderful nationwide campaigns that support responsible shopping. In the meantime if you’re a conscious consumer and have some tips to share please comment below!