No Shopping for a Year
Shopping. Shopping. Shopping. I shopped in order to feel good.
The Turn Since I got engaged with sustainability issues more than 10 years ago, I have tried to reduce what I buy. As Gretchen Ruben describes in her book about habits. For some people it’s easier to avoid things completely, while for some it’s easier to do it in moderation. I am not a moderator. I am an all-or-nothing-kinda-girl. So I decided to try what it’s like to not shop anything for a year.
Why it Matters
- Health The effects on our bodies through shopping are indirect.
- Behaviour We over-consume as a way to escape what we better deal with. The neuroscientists Gerald Hüther describes that we shop in order to compensate an emptiness that we all experience from time to time. Shopping, and especially the anticipation of it, releases dopamine, which makes us feel good. It’s the same biochemical process that addicts experience when anticipating their drug of choice.
- Time We spend an average of 8 years on shopping clothes.
- Money Americans spend an average of $18,000 a year on nonessentials, things we want, but don’t actually need.
- Emissions Our over-consumption is the number 1 cause of environmental destruction and degradation. About 30% of our CO2 emissions are caused by consumption.
- Waste The world generates 2.01 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste annually, with at least 33 percent of that not managed environmentally safe. Worldwide, waste generated per person per day averages 0.74 kilogram but ranges widely, from 0.11 to 4.54 kilograms.
- Resources Obviously all that consuming takes natural resources. I wasn’t able to find how much % of the resources we use are used for unnecessary goods. I assume it’s a lot. Over the years, our appetite for raw materials has grown – from 1970 to 2010 our natural resource consumption has more than tripled , whereas our population has only about doubled in that time frame.
- Injustice 20 percent of the world’s population consume 80 percent of the goods and services produced from the earth’s resources.
The Challenge in Detail
No Shopping for a Year. This of course excludes usables, like food and cosmetic products.
Sources I will try to buy as much organic, local and unpackaged as possible. In Berlin, this is rather easy.