The importance of consumption for the transformation into a sustainable society

We are flooded with shopping offers. Lots of people go shopping every day. The consequences of that are dire, both for our family budgets and for the natural environment. We cut forests; we dig deep holes in the ground in search of raw materials and fuels; we use huge amounts of water; we emit trillions of tons of pollutants into the air, water and soil; we occupy more and more space for housing and agriculture. We consume more than our planet can give us in the long run, putting our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren at risk. Humanity will not survive on Earth without a diverse, well-functioning natural environment. Thus, it is necessary to rapidly transform the consumer society into a sustainable one, that is, a society that will enable countless future generations of people to make use of the resources of the Earth. Action must be taken at all levels: from the international level, through national, regional and local levels, to the level of individual decisions. What could each of us do? The most important thing is to remember about the environmental consequences of our decisions and to rethink each shopping idea carefully. We should refuse to make any purchase that is not essential. What is more, we should choose durable and functional products that allow us to reduce the number of things we have. Items that are not in use should be given to someone else for reuse. We can keep things in good condition by restoring and repairing. We can rework things, e.g. long trousers can be made into shorts, and a pallet can be made into a table or an armchair. What can no longer be repaired, restored or reworked can be recycled, and as a result of that raw materials can be reused for the production of new things. We can also buy food in quantities that are easy to consume at the right time. This will reduce the amount of wasted food. Rotting means that leftovers can be composted. Finally, from what we are no longer able to use in its material form, we can recover energy. The above actions are described as 11 R’s Rule.

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