Anti-consumerism is a protest against our more and more materialistic society, which demands that we consume at an ever greater rate.
There have been protests against our consumer society all the way back to the economic boom in the 50s and 60s, such as Malvina Reynolds' song "Little Boxes", criticising the conformist middle class society, which followed the trend of the expanding consumer society with little thought of the consequences. With increased awareness of the problems assosciated with our growing consumption more activism against consumerism has developed.This can have various forms. Some are ways of reducing what we consume, others are protests to try and influence governments and corporations to change their policies towards more sustainable development. The following are some examples of the numerous organisations and individuals.
These became widespread during WWII. They sell mainly second-hand goods at low prices and the profits go to the particular charity. In the UK, some of the charities running such shops are, Oxfam, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research, Save the Children and Sue Ryder Care.
Shops for swapping have been around for a long time but are now often associated with anti-consumerism and the environment. Marks and Spencers Shwop Shop in the UK supports swapping and donates clothes to Oxfam.
The Freecycle Network
Is a non-profit organisation which has a worldwide network aimed at reusing or recycling goods which would otherwise end up as waste. It encourages gift economics. "Changing the world one gift at a time" is the organisation's motto.
Buy Nothing Day
Was started as a protest against consumerism in 1992 in Canada. It is now an international day of protest in November each year.
This is a movement started in the USA by ten friends who in 2006 agreed not to buy anything except essentials for a year. Essentials were underwear, food, health and safety items. Their goal is to not only recycle but to cut down on consumption.
Raging Grannies is a colourful protest group first started in Canada to protest against nuclear-powered warships in Victoria harbour and the environmental and health risks associated with them. The group, which is now international, protest against many other aspects of our society. Faction Film has produced a documentary film about two representatives of the Raging Grannies organisation.The two old ladies in the film are protesting against consumerism. Two Raging Grannies
There are numerous other groups such as Anti-globalization and Anti-Coporative activism (which criticise the influence of multinational corporations), Occupy Wall Street and environmental organisations all working towards reducing consumerism and its effects.
Norwegians are giving away more and more rather than selling. Give away ads on finn.no have increased by 2150% since 2004 about double the increase of other sales ads. Of course it may mean we are consuming more and more as we exchange old things for something new. However, these goods at least do not immediately end up as waste. Retro is in in 2014 and there is the possibility of furnishing your home with second-hand furniture. According to the article, it takes an average of only 3.5 days for give-away goods to be snapped up from finn.no. ( www.dinside.no 19/3/14)