Viewpoint: This Christmas let’s kick our consumption habits

Photo credit: Vuk Valcic / Alamy Stock Photo.

By Anders Lorenzen

Regular readers of this site will note that I’m often critical of overconsumption – and regularly chose to make this point in the Christmas and New Year period; the time of year we tend to both be most reflective as well as consume the most.   

Particularly challenging  circumstances this year

This Christmas we’re seeing more families than ever struggling to keep their heating on and put food on the table. Much of this has been brought on by the tragic war in Ukraine, however, we’re also still experiencing hangovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

it is also worth reflecting on the fact that energy prices would be much lower if investments in clean energy and retrofitting homes had already been made. 

Reframing our  values

I have long argued that the societal pressures that come with flooding everyone with presents put a huge amount of financial pressure on families who would always want to do what’s best for their kids. That pressure is even more intense than it used to be as one consumerist advert after the other is harder to escape as it is spread not only across popular TV but also the internet. 

This pressure to consume could stretch families to the breaking point and it continues to stretch the planet to the breaking point as well.

If we are not struggling this festive season, the response should not be to look away, we should be reaching out to help people, instead of buying cheap plastic products on Amazon that we will probably throw away in January. Let’s help people to keep warm and fed here and now. But long-term let’s help them to retrofit their homes, install solar panels, and heat pumps – this would not only help them long-term to ease their pain in these climates, but it will also contribute to the battle against climate change.

It is well-known it is always the poorer members of society who is at the forefront of dealing with the impacts of the climate crisis and our reluctance to kick the fossil fuel habit. The link between inequality, poverty and the climate crisis is as strong as ever.

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