Mass Consumption - A Social Disease ?

People queuing on Boxing day Sales in The Trafford Centre.
( / 26-12-18)

My recent concerns centre around the issue of Mass Consumption, which ultimately leads to mass waste and eventually environmental damage, not to mention the social implications.

I completed a 6-week course in December 2018, on Sustainability in the Luxury sector to refresh my brain and learn new things. I focused on the Cultural and social agendas as I grew increasingly frustrated with the bad consumer habits of today and the perpetual spending around Autumn / Winter time ( see below my draft manifesto).

Where are we today in tackling climate change, social and environmental issues? 

Well, 2018 was a bumper year for it all.... so much publicity and debate, campaigning and demonstrating....people from all walks of life getting involved especially celebrity figures like David Attenborough, Stella McCartney and Stacey Dooley. Many groups and bloggers have emerged, organisations and new brands and startups. Social media has been a useful tool for Fast Fashion but is slowly being overrun by new ethical and sustainable-minded bodies and souls. The Copenhagen Fashion Summit highlighted the issues to world leaders with the help of the general public oh and this happened too, the British Government suddenly woke up and launched an investigation calling on leading retail brands to be accountable for their bad business practices.

There is a revolution going on folks and 2019 could be an epic year .....

But....still, the fact remains, mass consumerism is a huge problem. The lead up to Christmas started as early as August, promoting and pushing the idea of buying early to beat the last minute crush, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, utter chaos and madness as the retailers encouraged and pushed us to spend, spend, spend and buy, buy buy.

And then the boxing day sales start with barely time to digest your Christmas pudding and so it goes on and on and people buy and buy, most of the time stuff they really don't need, regardless of those who made it or those who are without, regardless of any human or environmental cost on top of the price they pay, was that bargain really a bargain at the very end of it all ? 

The commercialism of Christmas is all too sickening, so I was delighted to see many ethical groups and blogs sharing ideas and tips on how to make your own gifts and sites to buy ethical goods. However, it reaches probably just a few and the majority still go and buy the tacky decorations and useless knick-knacks made to throw away because after all they are only a £1 and so you just buy new next year. 

And then you have the overindulgent food from exotic meats to sugar-rich chocolate overloaded desserts that supermarkets are marketing in such a way it has to be had for the Christmas celebrations. The tragedy is a lot of people out there don't have the money to buy such indulgence, no home or even a family to celebrate with. No one thinks of those workers who grafted countless hours to produce all this luxury for very little remuneration and in poor working conditions or the vast waste of precious resources.

So my train of thought begins to question what happens to the vast waste of leftover stock, the unwanted gifts, the leftover food that they bought just in case or for fear of running out, yet always there seems to be a box of untouched nibbles or unopened fancy cheese. What happens, do you ask that question? 

In December when I was out shopping for my regular food shop, I stopped and stood in awe at the trollies chock full of goodies, piled high it was almost spilling onto the floor, it looked to me like I had missed the breaking news that there was going to be a food shortage or a war had broken out and we needed to stock up. 

On my occasional research trips around the shops I find the vast amount of clothing in some retail brands to be absurd, masses of different garments, poor quality, cheaply made, flimsy, unstylish.... what a dreadful waste of human environmental resources, the impacts severe.

I find it quite frightening when I stop and watch people buzzing around stores like worker bees with their multitude of bags containing clothing they probably won't have for long, oblivious to the consequences of their actions or the story behind their sale bargain or a cheap pair of jeans

Mass consumerism is a disease created by greed and companies who spread the germs via every media possible, like the pied piper of Hamlin, they play their flute and the consumers follow in droves ....The Cure? it's not immediately effective and could take years but hopefully, we can tackle this disease before its too late for our planet and humanity...

My answer as always is education, the more we educate the better impact we have, plant the seed and watch it grow ...