There is no consumption without impact.
Let’s just put that out there.
There is no article of clothing, piece of food that you eat, good-hearted gift that you buy, that doesn’t cost something, somewhere.
That doesn’t cost the planet.
Consumption fuels the economy.
The way the world works, we are locked in a cycle of creating and consuming.
This is the capitalist machine at play. The 21st century monster. And we’re all on the hamster wheel.
Creating, consuming. Yes, it feeds the beast. And yes, it puts money into the pocket of the powerful few.
But it also creates jobs, and this means putting food on the table for the many.
Unless you join an exodus of people throwing their cellphones into the ocean, cutting up their credit cards and heading out into the wilderness to live off the land, Into the Wild style.
This could be a viable option.
But for many it is not.
It’s not viable even for those of us who are well-intentioned, read the labels on our clothing or bag of tomatoes – cruelty-free, GMO-free, organic, BIPOC-owned, Fairtrade – and wince when you’ve forgotten your shopping bags – yet again.
The point is, I’ve come to believe that there’s no such thing as sustainability.
There it is, I said it.
The very definition of the word belies any sense of possibility.
“The ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level.”
This is impossible. Because everything changes. Everything revolves.
Even a mountain, as stoic and stable as it may seem, wears away over time – only the change is so gradual to the human eye that it cannot be noticed.
But there are better ways of doing things.
Not ‘no impact’. But ‘less impact’.
And I think it’s important that people understand this.
Important that people hold companies – but also themselves – accountable.
But it’s also worth shining a light into the grey area – the zone of complexity.
You plant a tree out in the woods. Great. But perhaps it took you a lot of fuel, and some plastic sheeting, and a coffee cup in a throwaway receptacle, along the way to get it to that place of planting.
You buy a linen shirt – it has a OEKO-TEX label on. And maybe you already know that flax is fairly good for the planet – in comparison to resource-thirsty cotton.
But it still takes raw materials, finite ones, to produce that finished product.
There’s still creation, and consumption, at play. The hamster wheel still spins.
This isn’t a name and shame game.
And it isn’t about pessimism.
In fact, it’s about being so deeply optimistic about the planet, and it’s future, that you’re inspired to do better.
It’s about crucial conversations, acknowledging the grey area, and open-ended dialogue.
And it begins here.
We’re a GOTS-certified homeware textile company, based in Plettenberg Bay.
We are particular about sourcing the highest quality fibres, and creating a product designed to last, not designed for landfill.
We believe in open and transparent production – which is why our weaving mill is open daily to the public.
Read more about what we, and why we do it, here.