This is my 4th year taking part in the Earth Hour, a global event aimed at raising awareness about sustainability issues.  This year, I have decided to write a daily post during the month leading to the event in order to share some thoughts about the environment and give tips the little changes we can make in our daily lives.  There will also be some guest posts by fellow bloggers who will share their own views on a topic related to the environment.  You can read my introductory post here and access the Earth Hour website here.

I encourage you to comment and share your own tips, ideas and experience.  In the last couple of days before the event I will do a few posts about what readers had to say.  I believe we can learn a lot by sharing!

We live in an age of consumerism, in which people are used to spend and waste.  Our social environment is invaded with messages encouraging us to consume more and it has become difficult to resist the discourse of consumerism.  We buy more than we need and we throw away… 

I remember how my grandmothers used to keep everything and reuse it, probably because they had lived through the war and had experienced a lack of daily resources.  Now, this seems like a myth, in Western societies anyway.  However, people still suffer from poverty, but this does not prevent us from wasting.

Whatever your views on capitalism are, one can hardly deny the negative impact it has had on the planet.  I am not here taking a position for or against capitalism, just asking people to become conscious of its impact on the environment and the consequences it has had.

Sometimes, it feels like we do not have the choice.  For instance, goods come in packages and there seems to be little we can do.  However, we are still agents and have the power to resist the messages coming from our consumerist society.  Unfortunately, I cannot force the producer to build goods that last longer and use less packaging (although this is arguable), but I can choose to buy less and to reuse more.

Waste takes on diverse forms: we want the latest brand, the most up-to-date gadget, we buy too much food and trow it away (maybe we should consider reducing our portions as well?).  Money has no value anymore, except when you do not have any.

Packaging has become an increasingly worrying symptom of such mass consumption and of the convenient and fast-paced society we live in.  Everything is packaged in single portion and repackaged again in lots.  It seems that we have little control on this.  However, I believe it is still possible to buy in bulk and portion food ourselves, especially since most household now own a freezer.  One can also choose to buy only products in packages that are recyclable.

We need to start realising what is behind this huge phenomenom and try to resist it as best as we can.  How often do we think about how goods are produced and how they are discarded, about the impact it has on the planet and its population?  Do we really need to have so much, too much?  We consume above our needs; yet most people on earth can barely access a tiny proportion of what we have.

I know some of us are conscious of it, but many are not or do not care.  It would be a positive change to see people think about this and take at least one step towards reducing or improving their habits of consumption.

Children are growing spoiled and are not able to appreciate the important values in life.  How can we fight against the ideological messages thrown their ways at every corner of life? 

What step do you suggest we should take in our daily life to resist consumerism?  I would be happy to hear your suggestions and what you would be ready to do in this direction.

Here are some suggestions, please add to them:

  • Reuse food plastic containers
  • Reuse plastic bags
  • Buy second-hand
  • Buy food in bulk and divide it yourself (using those small containers you have kept)
  • Reduce food portions (especially in restaurants where most of it ends up in a bin anyway)
  • Buy fair-trade products
  • Boycott non-recyclable packaging
  • Ask yourself if you really need this brand new product
  • Don’t throw away: give it to friends or charity shops
  • Use goods until they die