I spend a fair amount of time thinking about all the possible changes in the world which will result from Covid-19 right now. And the one odd thing which strikes me, whether I am speaking to people about potential changes or just looking at my social media feed, is the nostalgia. Nostalgia for what has been and for now is no more. Like going to the office five days per week, brightening the misery of commute by booking a weekend in Spain or picking up a new outfit in the sales. The old ‘normal’.
But can we afford to go back to that normal?
Firstly, there is the matter of melting economy. And while the economy melts, maybe the ice caps won’t? Not only we are at a crossroad where we don’t have the money for such luxuries as a trip to Spain and a new outfit, we also don’t have enough ozone for it.
Secondly, can somebody please explain why the governments are so focused on rescuing the ‘nostalgia’ businesses including some of the worst lifestyle-related pollutants, such as cheap airlines and cruise liners? Why are they not proposing a major pivot? While the events that are happening are, outside of the stay-at-home order and the media coverage, not unprecedented with both major economic disasters and pandemics in our history…can we afford to keep going they way we have before this happened?
Thirdly, what is going to happen with the fast fashion brands currently all carrying a significant excess of goods? Are you really ready to spend your limited resources on clothes which are going to last two washes, even if they are on sale? Are you really willing to follow the same shopping pattern you followed before you realised that all you need is a good pair of comfy pants and a sweatshirt?
If there ever was a time to vote with your wallet, now is that time.
I would like to encourage you to look at your spending habits in accordance to your conscience first, your needs second and your wallet third. How does that look like for me?
As a frequent flier, I have cut down on my bookings and started putting some of my money into carbon offsetting. While this is nowhere near ideal, at least there is something I can do. I have also reviewed my travel plans for the second half of this year and the next, and while there are some trips which I want to take, there are fewer than I would take in the years past.
As a person somewhat remote from minimalism, my choice in clothes and homewares has moved away from big brands and ventured into independent stores, reclaimed, vintage and made locally. Which means I still shop, just differently. This has been a difficult shift in particular with clothing and furnishings, however I have come to discover that sometimes paying a carpenter to make you a set of shelves or DIYing the perfect shirt are much more satisfying than just picking an item up in a store full of items which all look the same and are unlikely to last well.
Finally, as a pet owner I looked carefully into the goods I am procuring for my furry kin. While I have already gone some way in optimising my own life in terms of both what I buy and how I buy, there were things I could do for them which included switching them to a canned version of their preferred wet food instead of plastic pouches and upgrading their litter from non-sustainable clay to bio-degradable wood pellet.
How do these changes translate into ‘voting with my wallet’? It’s simple – if you don’t think a brand is doing enough in terms of treating it’s employees, supply chain and the environment well, look for alternatives. Not only it might save you from wasting money on a purchase you might be unhappy with, it might lead to a discovery of something much better. So don’t be afraid to look past the brand name and let your values and needs drive where you put your money into.
Covid-19 seems to be messing with the world order right now. Politicians and economists are acting scared of the changes but if there is anything to be really scared of, it’s the possibility of nothing changing.
I hope this article was interesting to you. If there are any major changes you have been implementing in your life following the lockdown, feel free to share them in the comments.