Santa was good to my family this year despite my somewhat Grinchy protests and speechifying about the need to cull down the toy herd. A new wave of treats came into the house (Hulk Hands!), making the current ones obsolete. At least temporarily. For New Year’s, I decided to purge and organize and collected four bags of junk – toys that were disassembled, stripped, missing pieces. And another five boxes for charity.
My house looks better, close to Spartan, which was a major post-holiday victory. But, I’m ashamed of the piles of stuff sent to the landfill and the steady drumbeat of mindless consumption that contributed to it. It’s too easy. The little toy car at the drug store that keeps my son humming for three hours and ends up in a heap. A new outfit for my daughter’s doll that becomes ensconced forever in the couch. I can do better.
Unfortunately, I’m not alone. Fast Company’s Ben Schiller recently highlighted a survey by BBMG, GlobeScan and SustainAbility on sustainable consumption among consumers in Brazil, China, India, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. While most believe sustainable consumption is important, few act accordingly. One theory advocated in the report is that there are not enough products available. Hopeful, however, is that consumers in the developing world – Brazil, India, China – show greater interest in sustainable products.
I think a combination of better transparency and innovation in technology and social media will make it easier, over time, to understand the impacts of your purchases and spur more responsible consumption. This is great news. The hard work, however, will still come down to each person making a choice to purchase more mindfully.