If you did your grocery shopping on Monday, could you go an entire week—all seven days—without buying anything else? Would you be able to resist society’s capitalist message—“I consume therefore I am”—for a whole week? Why does it seem like very few Montrealers could actually pull that off?
Montreal is not a very eco-friendly city. Coffee cup consumers leave their waste in the gutters, wine bottles are blocked from being recycled for a refund, dog poop is left in plastic baggies around the city, recycled paper is shipped to China to be burnt for fuel according to musemcgill.com, the STM doesn’t run electric busses, and everyone idles their cars. Oh, and there are no fees for improperly recycling, so there is zero incentive to reduce waste.
It’s overall just gross, and no one seems to care.
Which is why the Concordia Student Union’s Anti-Consumerism Week is a great idea. The event will focus on educating students on how to consume less, make more DIY projects, question the consumerist economic systems around us today and inspire the community to adopt a more self-sufficient lifestyle, according to the event’s Facebook page.
Because we all know Concordia students could learn how to consume a bit less and make DIY projects on their own a little more.
While there is a great core of consumer conscious students at Concordia, such as the driving force behind developing the Hive Café at both campuses which uses food from the Concordia Greenhouse, or the People’s Potato’s push to encourage students to bring tupperware to tote their free lunches away in, or the compost, paper and plastic recycling boxes scattered throughout Concordia’s buildings—there are large grounds for improvement.
And it can all start with student education.
Did you know Concordia uses power from solar panels which produce enough power to heat seven Canadian houses according to the Globe and Mail, to power the SGW campus? Did you know that you can not only buy used books but also rent your textbooks at the start of the year with the promise to return them to the bookstore at the end of the term? (Using the co-op bookstore to buy and sell used textbooks and coursepacks is also a green initiative).
And yet the majority of students still buy non-compostable disposable coffee cups from Tim Hortons, drive to campus when there is a metro stop connected to the SGW campus, or drop their empty plastic water bottles in the garbage—right beside the plastic recycling box.
What gives Concordians? Why do you seem to hate the environment so much? What will it take to make you wake up—WAKE THE FUCK UP—and start caring about this planet you’re living on? Because there’s a lot of activism being catered to you, and if you’re still blatantly ignoring it, then you’re likely never going to get the message.
So try, for once, to start paying attention to your consumerism habits. You don’t even have to go to a workshop that makes you do anything (like make your own hot sauce, learn to knit, or learn how to grow potted plants inside). You can just attend a talk or a movie, or take it a step further and learn how to brew your own cider or beer, or you could get radical and learn how to dumpster dive.
Anti-consumerism week has something for everyone, from the already consumerism-aware to those of you who are just learning how to think beyond what companies are shoving down your throats.
Consume less. Build a community more. Attend Anti-Consumerism Week and learn how. Hopefully, in the near future, we won’t need such an event to do the right thing for our planet.