Is there anything quite like that sweet rush of dopamine that gushes over you like a hot shower when you buy something new? When that silky dress you bushed past whilst floating around Topshop suddenly becomes yours? The instant gratification when grabbing a spontaneous flat white on the go really hits the spot?
The world is our consumerist oyster and we can’t get enough of that slimy, ocean-y, goodness.
The ability to buy things that make us instantly happy is a modern and addictive concept, one that is primarily an attribute of class and economic privilege. Being privileged is, of course, a blessing; however, there is a very thin line between being privileged and being spoilt. When does a blessing become a curse?
I would describe myself as ashamedly spoilt. Perhaps not in the typically brattish sense of the word, rather spoilt as the only child in a comfortably stable, middle-class family. A circumstance for which I am eternally grateful for. But nonetheless I am still spoilt. However, I am not alone.
We as a society have become spoilt. Everything we do is in excess. Be it in our endless options when buying clothes, our throwaway mentality of single use packaging or our overindulgence of animal products. Most of us own far too many things we don’t even like. For instance, the average British man owns 19 pairs of shoes and women in America have around 103 items of clothing in their wardrobes. Particularly in the West, we have been blessed with a vast freedom of choice, but is this abundance of choice a nightmare in disguise?
I am someone that loves buying clothes. I adore ASOS Premier Delivery and I get a thrill out of finding the perfect outfit in a matter of seconds of scrolling. Aside from clothes, I love a hot chocolate on the go, a Tesco Meal Deal and a bottle of Diet Coke in the summer sun. I truly am a consumerist at heart, perhaps even a hoarder at heart.
I now consider myself to be a consumerist at the extreme. But is it just me? Because by the looks of things we all have closets spilling out onto our ‘floordrobes’ and more lipsticks, eyeshadows and foundations than we will ever actually need. So, this makes me wonder, are we all hoarders? Or are we all used to having so much that we see our hoarding as normal? I definitely would’ve protested this idea not too long ago.
However, in the last couple of years, I have increasingly been carrying a heavy weight on my shoulders. Guilt. Over recent months I have felt numerous pangs of shame with every parcel that arrives at my door, with every Costa cup I sheepishly throw away and when I drive to work instead of walking.
As happy as they can make us, most of the ways in which we choose to live our lives are not sustainable, and although we are beginning to notice our overuse of plastic and the effect of us eating meat, unfortunately there is a long way to go if we are ever going to combat the climate crisis that we are facing.
And so, I am going to do my very best to catapult this heavy load that I’ve been carrying off of my back. Going forward, I am going to fight my hoarder impulses and battle against the relentless consumerist crocodiles that snap at us, ready and waiting to drag us back to the depths of environmental destruction.
I am well aware that my thoughts reek of self-indulgence and pretentiousness, and that our actions as individuals can only achieve so much. The responsibility of course ultimately sits with our governments and corporations that have the authority and wealth to make a real, significant difference. They just need a push in the right direction and we, as a collective of consumers, can grab their attention if we all demand it.
I am determined to alter my behaviour and rebel against the money-grabbing institutions that don't give a flying fish about our planet’s future.
Wish me luck, and feel free to join me on the way, as I’ll be documenting my quest. Gulp. Let’s crush our hoarding habits, and become one big sustainable army brandishing our Chilly’s water bottles and tote bags, paving the way for change.