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Letters / Black Friday fuels consumerism

COP 26 may or may not have succeeded in drawing promises to avert catastrophic climate change. But underlying was the assumption that we can basically carry on as before but without burning fossil fuels.

Hardly any mention was made of that human behaviour which is the biggest driver of climate change and environmental degradation – consumerism.

We all consume. We need to acquire the basic means to sustain life and to live in acceptable comfort.

But consumerism brainwashes us into believing that we need lots more ‘stuff’, thus using up non-renewable resources at an unsustainable rate.

And today’s ‘stuff’ quickly becomes tomorrow’s bruck with all the problems around disposal that follow.

Black Friday is perhaps the most blatant festival of consumerism. Not content with the annual Christmas buying frenzy the corporate world seeks to entice us into even more spending by dangling all manner of “unmissable” offers in front of us.

All credit, then to a number of independent retailers who have chosen to boycott Black Friday by closing their online outlets.

I’m not suggesting that we return to the kind of subsistence economy that characterised Shetland only a few generations ago. But we can all make a real contribution to a sustainable future by refusing to be seduced by the imperative to consume, and by adopting some of the strategies that would have been commonplace to our grandparents: to reduce, re-use and re-cycle – “Mak do and mend”.

Martin Randall
Co-coordinator Shetland Greens