Hooray! The season of crazy shopping deals has begun all over the world until the new year.
Shopping is fun. Receiving and giving gifts is fun. Moreover, shopping is important for the economy. It is critical for production and employment.
Needless to say; discounts can also be a unique opportunity to meet our needs at much lower prices than usual.
Everything is so lovely up to here. It is only necessary to -stop and think- when the issue turns from meeting needs to excessive consumption.
Human nature is indeed surprisingly complex. We already know that we don’t always make rational decisions. The feeling that all these calls for discounts create in people is ‘urgency’ and ‘deficiency’. The ‘unmissable’ discounts stuck in one night tickle the ‘must-not-miss’ motive. Baskets consisting of products filled with the motivation of ‘opportunity’ provide a great relief by pressing the ‘buy now’ button at the end.
On the other hand, when a product is purchased; a series of problems arise that will result from the production, transportation, use, and eventual destruction of that product, affecting the entire planet. Carbon emissions, plastic pollution, water consumption etc. is one of them. In addition to its negative effects on the planet; I’m not even going into issues such as production conditions for workers, employee rights, justice, etc.
We love tech shopping!
For example, electronics is the most attractive product category in such crazy campaign periods. Old phones, televisions and tablets become ‘e-waste’ when a new one is bought. While the demand for new and state-of-the-art devices released every year increases, the world’s fastest growing e-waste problem is far from being solved yet. It is estimated that 52.2 million metric tons of e-waste will be generated in 2021.
Most countries do not know what to do with this huge amount of e-waste. Only 20 percent of this waste is recycled globally. The troublesome issue is that such e-waste also has a number of toxic substances harmful to human health. Toxic residues affect ecosystems, polluting soil, air and water.
Let’s take another example. Last year, 9 billion dollars of online shopping was made during the ‘Black Friday’ period. In the UK alone, this shopping intensity emitted 429,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. (Emissions equivalent to 435 flights from London to New York)
The solution is simple and feasible!
It is not possible to rapidly and radically change our consumption models and shopping practices. However, we can convert. The most applicable and simple method for this is to be ‘moderate and rational’
Let’s think on a few basic questions:
Take a look at your home, school, car and workplace. How many of your belongings cannot be recycled? How many of them do you plan to keep for the rest of your life? How many do you find really necessary?
We need to focus on what we already have rather than what we don’t. If you really don’t need more, newer and different, wouldn’t it be much better to reconsider the purchasing decision?
To repair what is broken, to consider less-used alternatives instead of new ones, to evaluate unused items and clothes on existing second-hand platforms for the use of others; wouldn’t it be beneficial to increase the lifespan of products via these?
Before you click the “buy now” button next time, ask yourself more than once: Do I really need this? Why am I buying it? How much will I use? Does the product harm the environment?
“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” Robert Swan
Superheroes will not come. Or, one day, we will not wake up in a newly discovered technology that has solved all these problems quickly and in one go.
We will solve the problems we created ourselves. Change will start from us, even with small steps. Thus, it will trigger the transformation. It will have a great snowball impact for a sustainable healthy future.
So, let’s take action. Even the smallest steps do matter…