Do you ever stop to think about how privileged you are? I don’t mean ”I’m so happy I can buy this expensive designer item”, I mean more like ”The fact that I can buy this thing I don’t need for my survival means I am among the richest people in the world, and buying it also means someone less privileged will suffer more”.
Even if you buy ethically produced sustainable products, someone else will have a shittier life because of it. How? Because the money you choose to spend on unnecessary stuff could have been used to make the world a better place, and the energy and work hours put into making that vase could have been spent solving problems bigger than you wanting something pretty to put your weekend bouquet in.
I know you think I’m being extreme now, but really, take a few minutes to make a rough estimate of the money you spent in the last month on things you don’t need. Adds up to a rather sustainable amount, doesn’t it? If you are like most middle class people in the West, I’m guessing you got a number somewhere between €100 and €1000. Even in a small country like Sweden with around 10 million people, that is at least €500 000 000 per month being wasted. We could end world hunger, stop global warming and solve the refugee crisis in a snap if we’d all just stop buying products we don’t need! That’s probably not going to happen though, but don’t let that discourage you from taking responsibility for your own part in this. You can still choose what you spend your money on. New cushion, or a month of food for a child in a refugee camp? Your pick.
So the next time you find yourself browsing for ”a refreshing update” for your home, try to stop for a second and consider what that money could really do. Buying a locally produced chair made from sustainably grown wood doesn’t make you into a responsible consumer. Not buying it would.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should never buy anything, sleep on the floor and starve. But try to sort your Needs from your Wants, and find the reason behind wanting that chair. You are bored with the chairs you have, the cat scratched one and your child stained another with tomato sauce, and you saw a pretty picture in a magazine? Nah, you’ll survive. You have a chunk of cash burning in your pocket and feel the need to invest? How about investing in humanity instead of another piece of furniture? Yeah, I know, people aren’t very high value compared to vintage chairs, but they sure are a lot nicer to have around, and if you don’t agree you can give your money to an animal rescue instead. You literally have nothing to sit on? Ok, you probably could use some chairs then.