Conscious and transforming consumption
Let's not kid ourselves: the consumer society is turning out to be a failure. It provides us (actually not all of us, not even by far) with an access to a wide range of material goods -whether we need them or not- but at the same time, it has us submerged into a nightmare of environmental impulsive actions, complex socioeconomic structures, reckless debt, diseases of the body and the mind, increasing social inequalities, lives full of hurry and obligations... and objects that don't help us precisely to find a sense to it all.
Conscious and transforming consumption proposes to eliminate this nightmare once and for all. It invites us to find other alternatives to live where consumption loses its importance to give it to a full life, to solidarity and sustainability.
It is a matter of asking the question of how to satisfy, but seriously, consciously, our needs and individual as well as collective desires , instead of asking ourselves what objects we should consume. The need of Internet and text editor is not the same as needing the latest trend in computers. If we want to clean, the best first step to take would be not need to clean (less work, less pollutants, less energy, cheaper). Would you like to read this novel? Then taking it from library could give you as well other gratifications. What do I feel like doing, do I want to enjoy some memorable neighbourhood party or to participate in the auction of a flat screen television in the mall?
It wants to transform our culture, from the everyday micro-habits - where we can find satisfactions in the moment, here and now. Did you know that brushing your teeth with too much toothpaste can fail to clean your teeth properly? Have you already tried to take the stairs down (or up...) instead of using the lift?- even in social priorities -why the level of development is measured in money and not in welfare? Isn't it more intelligent to need less electricity than to generate more and more every time? Is it more important to have butcher's shops full to the top or to stop the avalanche of farmers toward the suburbs of the big cities?
It may sound idealistic. But today we can seriously consider that it is not really clear if the person who dreams in a more reasonable world is more idealistic than that who thinks that we can continue much longer this way. Certainly, if we do not buy computers, detergents, toothpaste, electricity, books,..., something much more substantial would have to change in the train that we are all in. But if we continue to buy... what will happen with the train?
Obviously we are not going to change the world only through consumption, even though it will be a necessary step to take in order to change the consumption patterns. A conscious and aware consumption is added to other lines and movements of thought and action that look for changes, from groups of ecologists to base Christians, going through all satellites -academicians, activists...- that revolve around the concept of degrowth.
And in the practice, what does conscious and transforming consumption consist of? The ideas as well as the proposals arise from common sense. The key of the question lies in self-will, and in two things: having to sort yourself out in order to obtain what you need or wish using as little new resources as possible -with this dry bread and a little bit of stock we will make an incredibly tasty soup-, and wanting to priorize the welfare of human beings as well as that of the planet -I love to make a barbecue with my friends every now and again, it is great and I know that around here there is a local farmer, happy and healthy lambs and the town's butcher's shop-. If we see that clearly, the rest is very easy. Given the current levels of waste, we have a very wide field to cover the way we want, both in the everyday life of each one of us individually and collectively. Our best guides will be common sense and sharing experiences, and our most welcome satisfactions will be the small successes achieved every day and the encounter with aspects of our nature that the consumist insolidarity is taking away from us: being able to do many things for ourselves, help ourselves, give us time to develop our wishes and to live the affection of those who we love...
The intention of this web is to offer tools and inspiration for this adventure.