Tatiana Schlossberg’s Inconspicuous Consumption: The Environmental Impacts You Don’t Know You Have, covers mass consumption habits, their impact on our world, and how to change your perspective from local to global.
The effect of human enterprise and exponentially increasing consumption is inconceivably large. As markets develop, relatively niche or local items have become international growth, production, and retail operations. For example, Chinese cashmere was once a rare luxury, but as demand increased so did the number of goats being raised to produce the fabric. As a result, goat grazing led to desertification which in turn malnourished the goats and decreased the value of their coat.
While conversations on disrupting fast fashion and encouraging better shopping habits are increasing, Schlossberg isn’t satisfied with this one solution. She notes that initiatives to switch disposables with reusables and shop sustainably have come and gone in the past, with little relative impact. Her suggestion is to think bigger, to go beyond your own personal actions.
The agents of real change are the corporations and governments that allow pollution and unsustainable practices to continue. Impressively, getting only 3-4% of people involved in a movement can be enough to force systemic change, which is what we really need. Instead of relying on the masses to make eco-friendly transportation choices, she suggests, a carbon tax would implement standards that systemically decrease emissions without individual burden.
In a thoughtful conversation with the New York Times, Tatiana demonstrates the need for major policy changes in addition to the growing number of ethical consumers.