Tejvir Singh Sekhon and Catherine A. Armstrong Soule touch on the fascinating topic of anti-consumption in their Op-Ed. As a Seattleite, I think a lot about the negative environmental impact of local companies like Amazon and Boeing.
It is easy to feel hopeless as just one person in the face of something as big as climate change. Small actions (using reusable bags, eating meat alternatives, opting out of single-use plastic) seem to pale in comparison to actions by corporations, who emit the majority of carbon emissions. Switching from plastic to metal straws just doesn’t feel like enough. However, anti-consumption presents a third option: Don’t buy straws at all. Anti-consumption isn’t contingent on top-down action from for-profit companies but takes advantage of the natural consumer power in the market.
In a successful anti-consumption movement, consumers cultivate positive social status for being environmentally conscious, meaning they have the power. When an environmentally conscious choice has more value, companies will adapt their models to maximize profit while simultaneously meeting demands for sustainability. This option only requires company marketing teams to take advantage of the growing desire for environmentally friendly purchases and leaves most of the power in the hands of the consumers.
Megan Dunnigan, Seattle