It’s upon us. Underwhelming Christmas trees have popped up around the Sydney CBD and absolutely every single piece of inanimate and in some cases animate matter is being sold to us as a possible gift idea.
We have the semi-ominous Black Friday sales now, an Amazon-created online discount day which has spilled over to retail stores, and something called Cyber Monday, which as far as I can deduce is just whatever was leftover from Black Friday put on further sale after lacklustre weekend sales.
Pope Francis denounced this rampant consumerism at a Mass in the Vatican this week calling it “a virus that attacks faith at the roots”.
“We need to expose the delusion that you’re happy when you have so many things. Resist the glaring lights of consumption that shine everywhere this month … we must overcome the temptation that the meaning of life is accumulation,” he proclaimed.
I mean, he’s not wrong. Now, more than ever, it doesn’t seem like the right time in the world for over-consumption. For the past couple of years, the more privileged amongst us have been inspired the Marie Kondo philosophy and tried to rid ourselves off our excessive junk and clutter.
While it may have seemed faddish, the greater purpose was to make us think about why we have all these unnecessary items in our lives, and hopefully reflect on the state of the planet and the role we play in it.
Nothing like a $10 office Kris Kringle to bring all that that back in the door.
Gift giving, however, is a lovely gesture, so all we really need to do is put a little more thought into it.
One of my colleagues left work recently, and as a parting gesture, she left us all a small potted marigold on our desks, along with a little leaflet that described all its uses, both medicinal and edible.
I am a pretty terrible gardener, but I took the marigold home and planted it in our front flowerbed. It is now thriving, and it gives me joy every time I pass it.
As a person who has spent decades working in the fashion industry, one of the most wasteful and polluting industries in the world, I have become far more focused on making more conscious sustainable choices in every area of life.
Natalie Isaacs is the inspirational founder of One Million Women, an Australian organisation created to mobilise women and girls into taking practical action in addressing the climate crisis.
When I interviewed her this year, she said something very simple that stopped me in my tracks.
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Fast fashion wants us to buy what's in trend, wear it for a month and forget about it when we buy the next trendy thing, until we do a wardrobe clean out and throw it all out. 😭 We say no! Let's buy clothes we can see ourselves loving forever, make sure they're high quality whenever possible, repair them when they break, and keep them all for as long as we can! • • • • Running our campaigns, creating our educational articles, videos and images and maintaining our climate action app is done on a shoestring by our tiny team, but we need the financial support of our movement. If you feel that our work has helped and empowered you to tackle the climate emergency and you love what we do, we’d love if you would consider becoming one of our Passionate Supporters, giving a regular monthly donation as small as $8. It would mean the world to us, and it would help us keep our content independent, focused on helping you help the planet. More information at the link in our bio.
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“You can’t just march in the streets. You have to live it. Women make 85 per cent of consumer decisions that affect the carbon footprint of a household. You must decide to make some type of lifestyle change.”
Depending how lightly you currently live upon the earth, the choices are very personal, from eschewing wasteful Christmas decorations to deciding that you don’t need actually need a car. I’ll start by giving marigolds.