At the beginning of January, I happened upon a series of 15-minute programmes on BBC Radio 4. Called ‘New Year Solutions’, each programme focused on a different aspect of our 21st century lifestyle. Topics included food, transport (cars and flying), water, space, and clothes and fashion. Startling facts and figures detailed the climatic impacts of our behaviour in these arenas. Alongside this information, each programme offered ideas on how we could choose to live differently. It was suggested that, if adopted globally, such behavioural changes would not only mitigate the environmental damage we inflict on a daily basis but could even reverse climate change... (Click on read more)
The programme on clothing and fashion was similarly challenging. Apparently 8% of greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to the fashion industry and 34% of the 8 million tonnes of plastic that ends up in our oceans every year comes from clothes and textiles. Our consumer driven age has led us to buy 400% more clothes than 10 years ago, to wear them less and less and to consign more and more to landfill.
It is well established that consumer-led materialism and wellbeing are inversely related. This series of programmes seemed to be calling for a radical change of heart and mind as well as of lifestyle. On a hopeful note it discussed the positive feelings that can be generated by a sense of connectedness with rather than exploitation of the natural world, from celebrating rather than disregarding biodiversity, from shedding things that are bad and harmful, from saving rather than squandering precious resources, from developing sharing economies rather than competition-driven ones. Such values transcend both politics and culture and are consistent with a Christian vision that recognises the sacred nature of all reality and sees God’s creative power immanently present in all things. The environmental crisis we face challenges us to live up to that vision. For more information see: