“You buy furniture. You tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life… Then the right set of dishes. Then the perfect bed. The drapes. The rug. Then you’re trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you.”
– Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
Many of us live in a world where happiness is the choice between 17 kinds of plastic-bottled water brands, even though the same water is coming out of our taps at home. We purchase souvenirs that are made far away from the places that we bought them. We’re charmed by trinkets and know that anything of value has been triple-wrapped in titanium strength packaging. We feather our offices with post-it notes and take showers that last long after we’re clean.
We race down the aisles, an arm outstretched, sweeping stuff off shelves into shopping trolleys, only vaguely aware that more than a billion people worldwide don’t have access to basic things, like water and clothing.
We buy stuff for their convenience without realizing that its production and destruction are not convenient at all.
The Story of a Spoon is an appeal for people to stop racing down the aisles. To slow down. To take a moment to think about how the stuff we buy came into existence and what happens to that stuff when we no longer have use for it.
It’s about asking ourselves, when you consider the history and future of a thing, is there a more sustainable alternative? It’s about understanding our inter-dependency with the natural environment and changing the way we consume for the better.
We’re starting to get it. Change is already underway. We’re doing more reducing, more reusing and more recycling. More grocery stores won’t give you a plastic bag and more of us are exchanging our clothes or passing them on to people who need them.
The fact is, at a thing’s beginning and at its end, it’s up to you. Are you up for making the change?
Arin de Hoog is an editor with Greenpeace International
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