The latest smartphone, those cool jeans, diving equipment for the next vacation, fruit and vegetables all round the year – today many things are just a few steps or a click away and always available. But what consequences does that have on our behaviour and on the environment? According to nature conservation group WWF, humankind are driving their own planet into a dangerous form of burn-out: “When added together, every year we consume 50% more resources than the Earth can replenish in that time and therefore provide in a sustainable way. If we carry on doing this, by the year 2030 humans will need two complete planets to satisfy their demand for food, water and energy. By 2050 this will have risen to almost three Earths,” explains the German WWF website.
Less is more
Every year Buy Nothing Day sends out a message in favour of lower consumption and greater environment awareness. Organised for the first time in North America in 1992, the day of action on the last Friday in November is a protest against the inhumane and environmentally destructive production and trading conditions of international companies and corporations.
“Consumption is no fun any more when we have too much of it,” says Niko Paech, a critic of present-day economic growth strategies, author and visiting professor at the Chair of Production and Environment at the University of Oldenburg. According to Paech, people who reduce their consumption do not only reduce the strain on the environment, but they can also enjoy things more intensely.
In Germany, too, activities against consumerism are also attracting more and more supporters. In summer 2015 a so-called minimalist meeting was held in Frankfurt am Main. The movement’s supporters use events of this kind to exchange ideas and discuss their philosophy of life: they consider too many possessions a burden. They do not only include those who totally reject consumerism, but also people who regularly think about what they consume. Roughly 100,000 people in Germany, estimates Michael Klumb, the official voice of the German minimalist cause, identify with the movement. According to Klumb, minimalism is based on many people’s experience that you actually need much less than you currently have – and you can get along just fine with that.
Buy Nothing Day on 27 November 2015