quite recently, i stumbled upon this article, i kind of wanted to scream with joy. someone finally put my internal struggles into words – how much it sucks when you realize how important it is to make conscious shopping choices, but when your own budget prevents you from it.
i’ve been writing about sustainability, ecology and conscious consumerism (can such thing actually exist?) for quite some years now, yet i find myself reaching for the cheap pasta wrapped in plastic at Lidl almost every week and tossing out multiple metal cans quite regularly. every time i do this, it feels like a sharp cut into my soul – you, who preach so much about reducing waste and being sustainable, you do this? how pathetic. there are so many options to be even more eco-friendly, yet you don’t do them! you fucking suck.
yes, there are so many ways to become a conscious consumer: zero-waste shops, composting at home, making your own snacks instead of buying them and so on, no doubt about that. but, as most of these things often cater to those who have a steady income, have their own private place to live and can afford to spend their time on practising them, i, as a student with a limited budget, who has to move every other month because of the current surging housing crisis, who, in order to pursue own dreams, moves from a country to country every couple of months, find it impossible to make use of them. yes, i’d love to get myself a bunch of glass jars, only shop at Original Unverpackt, a waste-free grocery store in Kreuzberg, prepare my own cookies to bring to work, make my own deodorant and toothpaste and what not, but there are several elements that prevent me from it, and one of them is money. as the author of the previously mentioned article said, not everyone can vote with their dollars—or, in my case, euros—but that does not mean that my efforts are completely pointless or that i’m betraying my beliefs.
i am still trying hard to save the planet on as many accounts as i can (for example, i strongly refuse to shop at fast-fashion stores, even though it sometimes means it takes 10 times longer to find a garment i really need, like socks or underwear), but i will, for a while at least, have to keep buying pre-packaged stuff from Lidl, because i simply cannot afford to do otherwise, and i should stop feeling bad about it. unfortunately, a lot of decisions we make are often decided without us actively participating in the decision-making.
i am not trying to make this a whole apologetic piece about myself, i just want to point out that even if we want to support a good cause, the way our society is structured can rule it out for some of us. however, it is important to keep on raising our voices about these topics, and to never stop hoping that this will eventually change. perhaps that’s actually even more influential. or?