Greensumption is a form of greenwashing, but taken to the next level. It is the belief that it does not matter how much you buy as long as the things you buy are 'green' or 'sustainable.' This is false. I have written previously about the difference between excess and subsistence (click the tag at the bottom of the post for the other posts) and I think that that ethic can be broadened to consumerism as a whole.
Although buying truly green, sustainable, fair-trade, and locally made products is good, the no-action option should be explored before purchases are made. Is it possible to do without? Could I maybe reuse something I already have for the same purpose? Could I buy this product used? Would it be possible to borrow this from a friend? These are just a few of the questions that you should ask yourself before you purchase your 3rd television, your second brand new car, your new 'going out' clothing, etc. Even things such as household cleaners and processed foods can fit into the 'unnecessary' category. Am I asking you to revert back to the stone ages and cast efficiency, technology, and consumerism out the door? Absolutely not. I am just asking that you make each decision, each impulse buy, a conscious decision and weigh the pros, cons, and alternatives. Be an active consumer. Think for yourself.
Learning how to use basic ingredients such as vinegar and baking soda to clean your house or reaching for an apple that a farmer in your town grew instead of a packaged snack might actually be easier and more rewarding -- and all it takes is thought!
For another take on the idea of Greensumption, check out this satire (it is about 5 minutes long, and leaves you chuckling and thoughtful):
An additional (and longer -- about 21 minutes, but still uber interesting!) source of knowledge on where your 'stuff' comes from can be found in The Story of Stuff. As stated on their website:
What is The Story of Stuff?: From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It'll teach you something, it'll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.
I encourage you to take a look at both videos, and make your own decisions. Feel free to leave comments below!
Happy Hump Day!