Why conscious consumption is a lie

Off the back of Black Friday, which was incredibly stressful (anyone else feel that it stressed them out?), with every single business handing out discounts like drugs at a concert, even the ethical ones, I’ve come to a realisation about purchasing ethical, organic and sustainable.

If an alternative that ticks all the above boxes exists, I want it. I convince myself that I totally need it, even the ethically made organic wooden plane toy that my son does not give a toss about and will literally throw onto the floor because he’s only 11 months old and cares more for opening every drawer in my kitchen to give me a heart attack over the safety of his fingers.

My daughters’ room is starting to look cluttered again after I decluttered it a few months ago because I purchased them dolls from Vinnies (which they have forgotten all about as they sit perched up on a wicker doll’s chair because wicker/rattan is #trending right now and of course I need it so their room looks Insta-worthy) and ethically made girl’s dresses in pretty florals are taking up space in their closets. And on their floor. And on their beds.

I got my keep cups in my kitchen cupboards, and my glass drink bottles to use instead of buying plastic bottles (but I keep buying bottled water whilst out because I keep forgetting to take the glass drink bottle with me).

With all this spending, I’ve had an epiphany, also aided by watching depressing apocalyptic videos of 50% of the world’s animals going extinct and how our children are basically facing a future of wars over food, land, water, ALL THE NECESSITIES OF SURVIVAL AND FML WHY DID I HAVE THREE KIDS?!! and the fact that my house is being cluttered by stuff all over again and I feel guilty every time the postman delivers something to my door and my HUSBAND IS HOME AND IS TOTALLY JUDGING ME as I try to justify the eco-friendly, ethical, organic purchase I’ve just made for the 100th time…

You guys, we’re all being jibbed. Conscious consumption is a lie.


I said it.

It’s a lie because it is still based on consuming. It still requires us to keep spending on stuff. Stuff we don’t actually need. Stuff that is actually very expensive.

This article here argues why conscious consumption is failing. It also outlines what we can do instead.

And the solution is brilliant.

In short, spend your money on supporting organisations, politicians and movements that are trying to make the big changes. Changes in the way businesses trade, and use resources.

It also suggests that we should be giving our time to volunteering, rather than giving our money to companies “who are getting it right”.

Personally, I think it is still important to make ethical buying decisions, where you can.

But I have the increasing sense that what we need more than seeking out these ethical companies to purchase from, is a shift in our paradigms. We need to tackle our consumerist mind frames, our need, our urges, our desire to spend, to buy new things, to accumulate things, before we start seeking out ethical companies to purchase things from.

And most importantly, we need to recognise that giving our time in service, in volunteering and in activism is the most effective way to make our voices heard.

We need to make our voices heard in a way that goes beyond the constrains of money, because let’s face it, this is about the future of our children and our children are worth the struggle to change our consumerist paradigms… aren’t they?

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Photos by Z by Zahrah. Not to be used without permission.

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