Christmas may come but once a year, but the run-up to the so-called season of goodwill seems to go on forever. We make a point of ignoring the subject until the clocks change, after which there seems to be no avoiding it as the shops fill with festive related food, frockery and gifts guaranteed to tempt even the most Scrooge like into spending, and consequently wasting, too much.
As our regular readers are aware, we are confirmed frugalistas, preferring to live life in the slow lane generally, and the slow fashion lane in particular. We love to cook meals from scratch and hate waste, which means leftovers are nearly always recycled into a new dish and surplus is shared among friends, neighbours and sometimes the local ducks! Similarly, our wardrobe is full of vintage, second hand, recycled and home made clothes, with any outgrowns being donated to charity shops or recycled in textile banks.
Yet the pressure on even the greenest of meanies to overspend and over consume rears its ugly head every year without fail and is a very persuasive force, judging by the heaving high streets and astronomical levels of spending in supermarkets. Collective insanity seems to prevail pre-Christmas and drives a spending frenzy that is inevitably regretted in the new year as the credit card bills roll in.
It was therefore heartening to hear about the food waste busting mission of one of our newest Twitter followers, @Feeding5K. On 18th November 2011, they will be living up to their name and feeding 5000 people in London's Trafalgar Square on food that would otherwise have been wasted. "Fill Bellies, Not Bins" is their motto and you can sign a pledge to reduce your food waste on their website.
Then on 26th November it's Buy Nothing Day 2011, which challenges us all to switch off from shopping for one day as an antidote to the toxicity of rampant consumerism.
Buy Nothing Day proponents maintain, like us, that it’s not shopping in itself that is harmful, but what we buy. They remind us all that:
"Only 20% of the world population are consuming over 80% of the earth’s natural resources, causing a disproportionate level of environmental damage and unfair distribution of wealth. As consumers, we should question the products we buy and the companies who produce them.
The idea is to make people stop and think about what and how much they buy affects the environment and developing countries. Increasingly large companies use labour in developing countries to produce goods because its cheap and there aren’t the systems to protect workers like there are in the west."
So let's bear these sentiments in mind in this coming season of goodwill: waste not want not, fill bellies not bins, and moderation in all things (although we may just make a small exception for red wine!)