(Don't) Shop Till You Drop

Shopping is a favorite pass time for a lot of people. Some people shop because they need something, other people shop because they are looking for something they might need. Other people shop because it distracts them from some unpleasantness in their lives. Shopping can seem to fulfill a yearning to have what other people seem to have. For some, shopping fills a void in their lives and they want to shop till they drop.

People have different reasons for shopping. The problem is that we are all shopping too much. Many people do not think of the impact that their purchases have on the earth. They buy something because it’s useful, or cute, or to replace something that broke. As products are manufactured to meet demand, the earth is stripped of valuable and often limited resources. We currently live as though we have unlimited resources. Most of us have not considered what will be available for purchase tomorrow if there are no more materials and resources to extract.

It is estimated that 99% of the purchases we make become garbage within six months. Many of the items purchased are single-use items and are discarded immediately after use. Not only does the manufacturing of the product impact the earth through the use of water and energy it also contributes to emissions in the atmosphere that are warming the earth. As products are manufactured to meet demand, the earth is destroyed in the process. We already can feel the pinch when resources are not easily available. Last year it was chip shortages, which made it difficult to purchase a new car, phone or computer. Anticipated shortages in 2022 include chips, aluminum, some foods and building materials. As we demand more, less will be available for future generations.

Economies are built on the assumption that perpetual growth is needed for success. This opens the door for over-harvesting, over-fishing and a destruction of ecosystems for mining and extraction of fossil fuel. Manufacturing companies who use resources to make “stuff” for us use copious amounts of energy and water in their processes and contribute to emissions in the atmosphere that are warming the earth. To address future shortages, restoration must be part of the economic development plan.

We are caught in a vicious cycle of waste. We buy, we discard. Buy, discard. Shopping is currently causing one of the problems facing our economy – inflation. That’s what happens when a lot people have money to spend but nowhere to spend it. Interruptions in the supply chain and in shipping have exacerbated the problem. We can contribute to improving inflation by reducing our spending.

We can also contribute to the health of the earth by purchasing and consuming less. Purchase and discard less food. Forty percent of the food we buy is thrown away. Purchase less clothing and shoes. The most common purchases made worldwide are fashion items such as clothing. Make purchases thoughtfully rather than on impulse. Always shop with a list and shop less.


Monday, July 4, 2022