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ReThinking our consumption habits

Stuff can be valuable, comfy, helpful, and honestly, sometimes life-saving. But it can, and is, out there polluting our oceans, building up enormous amounts of waste, and forebring environmental and human justice violations. Why is the lifespan for certain stuff so short, and why do we accept linear thinking of our economy?

The next #AnatomyofAction domain is STUFF, and outlines actions you can take to reshape what you consume. It specifically outlines three subdomains, #Beyondbuying, #Fashionslowdown, and #ditchdisposables.

It is high time, that we, as consumers - start to pay attention to the quality, origin of the products we buy, and consider how long we'll be able to use them. Instead of throwing away things that have broken down, spend some time learning to repair and patch. Or maybe you have some acquaintances who are good at using the sewing machine, that can help you out? If you take care of the things you have and use them carefully, it is very likely that you will be able to extend the life of everything from shoes to bags.

Apart from repairing, one can resell, share or swap everything: a camera you’ve bought in the hope to become a pet photographer but have never used, or a lovely coat you have been wearing with pleasure but now want to change it to a new one. Surely, there are many people around you who would be happy to buy the camera and maybe exchange their coat with yours! By not always buying new, we save on the earth's resources.

You can’t even go into a supermarket now without seeing rails of clothes in front of you. Not only is it all around us when we’re out, but online shopping is a thriving industry and it’s predicted by 2021 we’ll spend $4.8 trillion dollars online.

People may not be fond of fashion and not follow the latest trends, but clothing is still an important act of self-expression. Colour, shape, and combination can tell enough about a person. And it is all good but we should start expressing ourselves in a more sustainable, ecological way - not with the means of fast fashion.

Fast fashion – is cheap, fast, and disposable clothing. You might say that you will never wear that. But take a look at your wardrobe and count how many items there are from Zara, H&M, Topshop, Stradivarius, Bershka, Fashion Nova, and Pull & Bear. These mass-market stores are promoting fast fashion, democratizing prices, and choosing clothes for you as a star, only made of plastic. Usually, these garments of clothes are of terrible quality and “get bad” very fast. When you need to buy new clothes - choose organic, ethical, fair trade, or other climate-smart materials.

The clothing industry is considered to be the second-largest destroyer of the environment in the world, straight after the coal and oil industry. Buy what you really want and need, in good quality that can last a long time.

A good tactic might also be to think in "cost per use". More expensive clothes of good quality can be a smarter and in the long run more economical purchase than cheaper garments. In addition, CPU can be food for thought that stops impulse purchases and makes you think about how much you will actually use the garment. So next time you go to the shop, try to ask yourself “is it really worth buying this thing?”

If we are to live sustainably, we all need to move beyond a philosophy of single-use. All products, and especially plastics, metals, and textiles, should be designed with the intention that their raw materials will be recovered and recycled.

Unfortunately, it is often not the case, and thrown away disposables can be found everywhere, in our ocean in particular. Let’s take plastic as an example. Plastic - whether it be for a container, a wrapper, or the product itself - has become an everyday part of our lives.

This is a huge problem right now as when these huge amounts of plastic reach our waters, whether it be plastic bags or drifting fishnets, it poses a threat to the animals that depend on the oceans for food. To a sea turtle, a floating plastic bag looks like a jellyfish. Drifting nets entangle birds and fish, making it difficult, if not impossible to move or eat. As our consumption of plastic mounts, so too does the danger to marine life.

The only way to stop it is to ditch disposables! It might sound hard to do, especially if you used to buy a bottled water every time you go out for a walk - but the more you try to incorporate these small habits in your life, the easier it gets.

When things break down - try to switch to better alternatives. Instead of plastic, you can buy things that are made of such materials as wood, bamboo, ceramics, porcelain, and glass. Use jars with lids to avoid plastic foil, avoid disposable items such as plastic cups and plastic cutlery and skip the soda and bottled water, invest in a good reusable bottle instead. Bring a cloth bag or to the grocery store when you go shopping and try to find goods in bulk or packaged in durable materials.

What to think about when participating in our Anatomy of Action challenge?

Use #ReGenAoA, and tag @ReGeneration.2030 when you upload your lifestyle moments, actions and ideas on your social media. The fourth Edition of RGW2021 will be built upon the five AoA domains, and the results will be shared at our RGW2021. We want to highlight your actions and make them known to policymakers in the Nordic and Baltic Sea Region!

Want to know more about ReGeneration, Anatomy of Action, or ReGeneration Week? Here are some links which might be helpful:

Toolkit with graphics for the challenge. Jump on the challenge, it is not too late!

This post was written by a ReGenAoA team member: Nadya Mityagina


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