Adrian Chiles rightly highlights the problem with stuff addiction and the advertising industry being complicit in this (We need to stop buying stuff – and I know just the people to persuade us, 20 October). His article is really another version of the concept of “de-growth”. This means relinquishing the fixation on GDP expansion and concentrating on producing better-quality, affordable items designed to last a lifetime, while repurposing, repairing and recycling everything else. This requires a radical restructuring of our economy rather than “greening up” the economy we currently operate.
Dr David Dixon
As Adrian Chiles recognises, “Stop buying stuff” will never catch on as an ad campaign. All lifeforms prosper by consuming available resources, but in human consciousness this all too often translates as “happiness equals more stuff”. We will be waiting forever for the behavioural changes needed to achieve net zero; technology and economic tools are our only hope.
Bravo, Adrian. I have cleared out all the stuff that I know I will never use again. It’s gone to the charity shop, where at least it will benefit someone less fortunate than me.
Reading Adrian Chiles’ article, my mind jumped to clearing out my grandmother’s house in 1970. She was 85 when she died and her stuff consisted of a few clothes, stored in a chest of drawers that was a wedding gift in 1912, a teapot and the remains of a 50-year-old dinner service. At 15, the realisation that you could live a perfectly good life without stuff was great preparation for the next 50 years. The challenge for me has been living with other people’s stuff!
Adrian Chiles refers to frequent updating of kitchens, a habit many people seem to have got into these days due to “must have” advertising. My kitchen was put in when we moved into our house 43 years ago and I’m still happy with it. Even the work surfaces are nearly as good as new; they don’t make worktops like that any more.
Adrian Chiles might like George Carlin’s very funny diatribe on “stuff”, which is on YouTube. Maybe it is time we took it seriously?