We’re a consumer society. These days it often seems, we live to buy things. But the more new things we buy, the more energy is used in making and transporting them. That all goes into our carbon footprint and adds to the country’s CO2 emissions. But it’s as if we’re on a treadmill to consume, to replace and upgrade often.
Yet there are things we can do to stop that. Obviously we’re not going to stop buying things altogether; that’s simply impossible. But we can cut back, and look at other ways of consuming.
Do you really need that new HD plasma screen TV? Or a new, bigger fridge? The answer, if you look at it objectively, is probably no. But we’re encouraged to get the latest thing, and all too often we fall for it.
The simplest way to make sure you don’t increase your carbon footprint is to just say no. Don’t buy things you don’t need, just for the sake of something new and improved. Not only will you be helping the planet, you’ll be helping your bank balance, too. It’s more a question of thinking first – do I really need this? All too often the answer is that you don’t.
You’ll find it a very effective strategy, and you can even take pride in not keeping up with the Joneses and make them envious because you’re doing something active to cut your carbon footprint – you might even start a trend.
Other Ways to Consume Less
Why does everything have to be new? Maybe it’s a question you’ve never asked yourself before, but it’s a very valid one. When someone replaces an appliance or buys new clothing, what happens to the old. Try taking a look at sites where you can advertise your unwanted things for free! And you can take other peoples unwanted furntiture etc offf their hands for free! An excellent resource through which you can recycle unwanted all sorts of things, from baby clothes and toys to appliances, all available for free. That’s a wonderful resource, one that can save you hundreds of pounds a year (but remember to freecycle your old items too!), and have a big impact on your carbon footprint.
Do you just walk by charity shops? Try going in a few. To be fair, there’s plenty of tat in there, but look around and you can find some excellent bargains, in both clothes and furniture. You’re helping a charity whenever you shop there, saving money, and you’re cutting down on your CO2 emissions by not consuming new items. Nor should you forget car boot sales and jumble sales. The trick is not to get carried away. As with everything else, only buy what you need. But as with charity shops, you can find some bargains – although, to be fair, you often have to look hard for them.
Of course, these days not consuming, or going second-hand, is almost an act of rebellion. We’re trained to buy, buy, buy. What you’ll find when you step away from it is that not buying becomes very satisfying. Some people take it so far as to have one day a week when they buy nothing, a deliberate ritual of non-consumption. Like many things involved with cutting your carbon footprint, you need to step into a mindset where making change for the planet becomes more important.