It’s our planet and future generations who pay the bill
Year after year consumption records tumble during the annual frenzy of Christmas shopping, and in 2019 we are expected to spend 23 billion sek (!) on Christmas gifts. Despite the climate crisis we live as if we had four planets, and our consumption habits are well exceeding what the planet can handle.
The Nordic countries’ ecological footprint is among the largest in the world, as our consumption-based emissions are approx 11 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person per year. According to the Paris agreement this number must decrease to 2,5 tonnes per person per year in order to have a chance to limit global heating to 1,5 c. Globally, consumption (food, travel, textiles, electronics, household etc) is estimated to contribute to 60% of the total emissions of greenhouse gases, and according to the UN, the textile industry alone consumes more energy than both the aviation and shipping industries combined.
Every year corporations spend billions on marketing, trying to get us to ignore the shocking facts and consume more and more. They are putting their profits over our planet and future, and it’s time for us to stand together and say no. We have the power to push governments and corporations to be better, to set policies and create ethical production and promotion guidelines, and Christmas time is the perfect chance to make a clear statement against their destructive attitudes.
Overconsumption is not only contributing to global warming, it also has consequences on land, oceans and biodiversity. The production of fast-moving consumer goods is putting intense pressure on our planet’s natural resources, and we are living on borrowed capital from future generations to be able to meet the excessive demands of our current lifestyle.
- Extreme amounts of fast-fashion and electronic waste ends up in landfills due to our throwaway culture. Every single second, a truckload of textiles is either dumped in landfills or burnt, releasing harmful gases into our atmosphere
- Nearly 20 percent of global wastewater is produced by the fashion industry, in a time when cities and countries around the world face droughts and zero-water scares
- Hazardous chemicals – some of which are already known to cause cancer or disrupt hormonal systems – are released to the water when producing textiles. They are in the worst cases dumped directly into the oceans and end up in our food chain
- Paper and wood products, such as paper bags, delivery boxes, and other single use items are contributing to deforestation and the elimination of old forests and their ecosystems
The real price for our consumption is clearly something much greater and more terrifying than the one on the price tag. The health of our planet. People in developing countries. Future generations. These are the ones who truly pay the bill for our excessive consumption.
We need to shift to a sustainable lifestyle that is not depleting ecosystems and fueling the global climate crisis, and to rewind habits of unsustainable consumption and production to live within our planetary boundaries.
A fundamental change in how we use the Earth’s resources is needed. For that, political decisions are required, and we as individuals and customers have the power to ensure governments and corporations clean up their production and act for our planet, not just for profit. Additionally, we have the possibility to create long term sustainable change through the decisions we make in our everyday lives.
What you can do to limit your footprint on Earth this Christmas:
- Say no to Christmas gifts and other unnecessary purchases
- Swap and borrow things as much as you can
- Choose second hand when you do shop
- Try a plant-based Christmas dinner
- Travel environmentally friendly, choose train instead of plane.