Naomi Klein emphasises the biggest problem facing our world as a barrier to tackling climate change as capitalism and the free market.
Whilst I have included a page of natural products online that you can buy, what I really want to do with this blog is encourage people to become closer to their environment and become a little more mindful of their consumer habits.
A considerable number of years back, Klein wrote a great book called ‘No Logo’ which aimed to bring the often unethical food chain of branding into the public consciousness. Whether we admit it or not, we’re brand addicts. Whether we’re talking about our sportswear (Any football team wearing anything other than Nike or Adidas are instantly relegated in our minds), or our shampoo (“Anything other than [insert brand name here] makes my hair greasy”) or even our teabags (I ashamedly admit that I am a Yorkshire Tea snob), we’re addicted to brands. I remember when I was around ten-years-old and there was a boy I really liked at school. One day I found out that the boy wouldn’t go out with me because he didn’t like my clothes.We’d never had loads of money in my family, though even if we had my parents weren’t the kind to don all-out Adidas or flash a brand just for the name anyway. My birthday was coming up and I decided that I really needed to impress my crush, so I asked for a branded tracksuit, sick of being Timmy Two Stripe or whatever it was my Adidas donning peers were calling me. I’ve changed a little since I was ten and i can only think of two or three items of branded clothing that I wear- and, yes, they’re all sports clothing.
When I think back to January Sales as a teenager, I recall the tradition of saving up my Christmas money to splash on the sales- regardless of what was on sale. As a developed Western nation we apply this same attitude wherever we go. Mindless consuming and spending as if the Apocalypse is upon us. I own far too many clothes, and my borderline reliance on those clothes being there, ready to define me as a person, is sometimes quite a daunting thought. I stopped shopping on the high street a few years back, finding the mass production excessive. Though I will readily admit that my distancing from the high street began as an avoidance of the so-called ‘mainstream’, it has developed into a much more eco-conscious, social-awareness, with thoughts of the manufacturing process lingering over me as I ogle a pretty (albeit unethically made) dress.
“…our economy is at war with many forms of life on earth, including human life. What the climate needs to avoid collapse is a contraction in humanity’s use of resources; what our economic model demands to avoid collapse is unfettered expansion. Only one of these sets of rules can be changed, and it’s not the laws of nature.”
Our political system is keeping climate change in place, it is rapidly moving climate change forward for the benefit of the few elites, and at the expense of those at the greatest depths of poverty. Once we decide that, no, we’re not going to hold the invisible hand of free market economics and that instead we are going to develop as self-sustainable people, then the oppressive oligarchy will come crashing down. And we won’t be happier because we will have more money or that we can buy a pair of expensive shoes we’ve always wanted. No. We will be happy because our actions are no longer displacing thousands and thousands of people, because our actions are no longer leaving people dying of famine and malnutrition due to failing crops and our actions are no longer making us unhappy, yet obsessive, consumers.
“Very little, however, has been written about how market fundamentalism has, from the very first moments, systematically sabotages our collective response to climate change…”
Naomi Klein’s No Logo can be viewed on Youtube here: