Friday, 20 January 2017

What is Anti-Consumerism and Why Should You Try It

As well as becoming a minimalist, I've become an anti-consumer, the two really go hand in hand quite well. You see consumerism is killing the planet. Think about it, we want stuff, so people make stuff and sell it to us to make themselves money. All well and good but the world isn't Space, it isn't infinite. Everything that is made takes resources and many of the resources aren't renewable. When you upgrade your smartphone, your TV, your car, your games console, you are indirectly harming the planet. Unfortunately it can be a hard truth to realise, I only did so about a month ago!

The western world is built on consumerism and capitalism, we consume new products constantly, spending billions upon billions of pounds every year whilst much of the world is left developing, striving to function at all let alone reach our consumerist level. The US consumes 30% of the world's resources, so when all of Africa and Asia reaches ours and the US' levels of consumerism the world will have insufficient resources to sustain life. Humanity as we know it will inevitably begin to die out. Forgive the simplified explanation, this is about the gist of it rather than the minutia.

If that weren't bad enough then there's also the short term to consider. We (as in society) put ourselves under great stress and strain to earn the money we need to acquire more things. Many of us work jobs we hate, we tire ourselves, cause ourselves stress related illness. And if we still can't afford the new phone, car, house then we use a credit card or take out a loan, putting ourselves in the debt of massive corporations. And why? To get the slimmer version of the phone we have? A phone that often still works! To buy a bigger TV? A faster car? A house with a pool?

Not to mention the vast time and effort needed to face down our social, political and economic short comings. Think about it: billions of pounds spent yearly on 'goods' could be put to improving environmental efforts, helping those fleeing war, helping the homeless, working in local communities, travelling, learning.

Consumerism is destroying our humanity and our planet. Our relentless pursuit of materialistic goods will annihilate our habitat in the long term and annihilate our physical and mental health in the short term. It allows for social and political injustice, it facilitates corporate greed. By saying no to the new thing, by questioning what really adds value to your life, what goes in to making something, by saying no, you can make your life and the lives of others much better.

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