I know a catchy title :-), but we need to realise that the consumerism is destroying the world. So why should we and how can we save the world with minimalism?
Have you watched “The True Cost” movie? If you haven’t, please do. This documentary was made in a wake of the 2014 factory collapse in Bangladesh. This collapse killed over a thousand people who at some point or other were making your clothes. Yes, yours too, unless you can go through all your wardrobe content and check the labels to find that nothing was produced in Bangladesh –you are guilty as well. So am I. We are all guilty of putting our consumerism over other peoples lives.
At the time when they were gathering footage for the film, clothes-factory workers in Cambodia were protesting, demanding a $160 a month, and they were being shot at by police. With live rounds. Yes, you read it right $160 a month. That is £120 a month. At the time national minimum wage in the UK was £6.50/hour – which would give £1300/month for 25 eight-hour working days. All of that so you can buy more crap cheap stuff. Watching this made me upset and gave me this feeling of being slightly sick in my stomach.
I know a lot of you will think
“what can I do? I’m just one person” but you are a one person with the buying power.
You can save the world with minimalism
In 2000 Tom Clancy (one of my favourite authors) published The Bear and The Dragon. And as much as it is a fiction, this book shows a fantastic mechanism of consumers voting with their wallets. Ok, in his book it leads to the country being brought to bankruptcy and war. But the mechanism is there. If we as a collective of consumers let know the companies we buy from that we won’t buy if they won’t change their practices, we stand the chance to change save the world.
See fast fashion and over-consumerism are not only having human costs, there are the environmental costs as well. Faster use of natural resources, greater pollution and mountains of discarded clothes and accessories.
I know it makes us feel better if we give our stuff to charity, but only about 10% of donated items are resolved. Rest ends up in places like Tahiti, Romania and other developing countries. With much bigger consequences than one would expect from mountains of unwanted second-hand clothes. It destroys the economy of those places, removes the need for traditional skills and jobs. Tahiti once had a thriving scene for tailors – they are needed no more.
So please think twice before you buy, do you really need it and how much will you use it. Because if it meant to just make you feel better, then just go for a fancy coffee with a friend. Or eat something nice. Make different choices because it’s our children who will have to pay the price of our retail therapy.
As a digression, Clancy wrote about a terrorist attack on Washington with a use of a plane in 1994. The man was a genius.