Where is that gorgeous dress from? Do I really need strawberries in March?

Strawberries for sale on a stall in Berwick Street market, London.

Think of air miles when buying strawberries in March - Credit: PA Images

While I dream of being an eco-warrior, this week of all weeks, sees me totally conflicted. I’m torn between the desire to go shopping - I deserve treats, the economy needs a boost, etc, whilst my eco-worrier voice niggles away, reminding me about over-consumption, and the need to care for our planet. And that deafening stat: “if everyone in the world consumed resources at the rate we do in the UK, we would need 3.5 planets to sustain us!”

So how do I reconcile the two?

I’ve come up with several considerations to guide my highly anticipated trip to the shops this week…

  1. Provenance: Where is that gorgeous dress from? Is this manufacturer signed up to the Bangladesh Accord?* Does it have a good workers rights record? Was this that fancy box of chocs made using child slave labour?
  2. Local/Seasonal: How many food miles have the ingredients of this delish meal travelled? Do I really need strawberries in March? They must have been flown in from Egypt.
  3. Independent: What a fab XXXXXX sold in this independently owned shop.
  4. Packaging: Yikes, that’s a lot of packaging around this XXXXXX. Do I really need this product?
Debbie Bourne will be giving away trees on Saturday.

Debbie Bourne thinks eco while shopping - Credit: Debbie Bourne

You get the idea… This might sound extreme, but thoughts of provenance to packaging will help turn you into an eco-warrior, whilst still buying lots of goodies!!

And here’s another question for you…? Why buy when you can borrow?

Next month, a Library of Things (libraryofthings.co.uk) will be launched at Kentish Town Library. At this, you will be able to borrow useful household items for your home, projects and adventures: Items like tents, steam cleaners, sewing machines.. Could borrowing become the new buying? It’s more affordable. Leads to less clutter…yes! And is kinder to the planet. Sharing is the new caring!

We can all do our bit to help develop a circular, sharing economy across our wonderful borough. How about setting up a toy swap shelf where you live? 

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Happy shopping and swapping!

  • Debbie Bourne is from Transition Kentish Town and Camden Think & Do.

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