As the summer sales come to an end it’s time to look at the bargains we’ve snapped up. Well, why not?! At least that’s how it’s meant to be, except this year something odd happened for a friend of mine and he’s holding me responsible. He told me he went home happy with the two polo shirts he bought for about the price of one until he was putting them away in his wardrobe. It was then that he saw the other 14 he already owned which were still in pretty much perfect condition. And that was when he remembered my story.
Several months ago I had shared with him the tale of what happened when I arrived home from a 2,800kms walk in nature. For 20 weeks I had walked with one change of clothes plus another ‘best set’ for the evening. The walk had been a wonderful experience and the simplicity of my clothes pack had been an integral part of it. But it was only when I’d arrived home after all that time and opened my wardrobe that I really saw what was in there. For the first time I saw all those clothes were a burden not a joy. They felt like an enormous backpack and simply made no sense at all. I couldn’t ever wear them all and not only had they cost me good money, but they represented terrible waste and damage to our natural resources. The land clearing and raw materials for growing the cotton, the precious water poured on the crop, up to 20,000 litres for the kilo of cotton required to make a tee-shirt and a pair of jeans, and then there’s the damage from insecticides. Cotton I had read accounts for ten times the average use of insecticides used on agricultural land. And of course the runoff of insecticides and pesticides pollute waterways causing damage to both humans and other wildlife. Perhaps even my namesake the badger had been suffering as a result of my thoughtless and pointless purchase……..
Then there’s the energy used to harvest, treat and transport the raw cotton to be processed and worked into garments which then have to be transported across the world to appear in my local shop. I know this system is going on all the time and it wasn’t just the clothes in my wardrobe that had caused all that damage. But that didn’t change the fact that I just didn’t need these clothes. They served no purpose and indeed were a burden to my life rather than a benefit. And then it hit me. What if up there in the atmosphere circling our earth we could see the very atoms of carbon dioxide released by the production of the unnecessary clothes we buy. And what if those atoms warming that piece of melting ice I’d seen on a TV documentary where a polar bear was struggling to keep his footing as he desperately strove to save his life, were released in producing those clothes sitting unused in my wardrobe. And that was when I decided to tune out of the consumer culture and stop buying things I don’t need just because they’re on sale or because someone tells me in an advert my life will be better if I have them.
And so I did and that was the story I shared with my friend. So, now my friend has seen his wardrobe contents for the first time in their true light and he’s beginning to ask question, ‘why am I doing it’? Of course he’s done what we all do at first at these times. He’s blaming me for getting inside his head and disrupting his life. Oh dear, time for me to head back down my hole for a while!
Question: Have you looked in your cupboards lately and thought about how you could save your time and money and the environment by just not buying stuff at the sales…………….