The power of buying local: Break the consumption cycle

A culture of consumption that started taking root in the mid-1900s, has now advanced to a full blown epidemic. Contemporary culture encourages people to refresh their home décor, their wardrobe, their technology, etc. to meet the demands of every upcoming trend. Gone are the days of the dining room table that has been passed from generation to generation; or the washing machine that cleaned without a hitch for 20 years; or the kitchen table that started its life in the kitchen, eventually making its way to the playroom, and then ending its life in the workshop. 

The problem with this consumption behaviour is that we value quantity over quality. Logically, no one can afford to purchase high quality furniture or clothing pieces every season, so we instead opt for the low quality, poorly made, disposable pieces. But these also come with hidden costs.

As part of the environmentalist movement, society is starting to wake up to the hidden costs behind our purchases. We’re beginning to notice that planned obsolescence, carbon footprints, and non-living wages are embedded in every purchase we make. These hidden costs extend across the gamut of items we purchase: groceries, furniture, clothing, applications, technology, etc.

One powerful way to address these hidden costs is buying local. Know the company or person from whom you are purchasing. Understand their production process. Support individuals who are practising sustainability, producing high-quality and reliable products.

Across Canada there is a noticeable movement to bring locally sourced products to the community. One such example is the neighbourhood of Hintonburg in Ottawa where you can buy bread at Bread by Us, grab a bagel at Ottawa Bagelshop, pick up dinner at Thyme & Again, and purchase the perfect artisan gift at Maker House (just to name a few!).

Maker House Co sells home goods and housewares that are produced by authentic artisans across Canada who are devoted to their craft. In doing so the store generates sales for over 100 makers from across the country. The central vision behind the store is to buy from your neighbour, thereby cycling your spending back into your community.

In an effort to treat the epidemic that is consumption culture, they believe that the value of an item should account for its origin, life cycle and its story. Each product sold at Maker House is made with the intention that it will last generations.

Maker House also recognizes the environmental concerns that accompany the consumption cycle. Companies that produce low quality and inexpensive products meant for quick consumption do not consider the long term implications of how their materials are sourced or how their products are eventually recycled. Maker House supports the Canadian tradition of woodworking and industrial crafting by promoting sustainable practice among all of their makers and customers, and using only sustainable materials for their products. In addition, the shop donates 2% of sales to nonprofits in the community as part of their #CraftChange initiative.

Consider the hidden costs behind your purchases, and do your part to break the consumption cycle. Buy local. Buy sustainable.

Michelle Massart

Michelle Massart

Michelle Massart is new graduate with a Masters in Sustainability and Environmental Studies. She’s currently living in Ottawa, Ontario working for the Government of Canada. Michelle has a keen interest in responsible and sustainable environmental policies that will protect the health of our planet for future generations. Her true passions lie in renewable energies, sustainable waste management and air quality monitoring. She believes our world will one day achieve global carbon responsibility. In her free time you’re most likely to find Michelle outdoors, enjoying nature!
Michelle Massart

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Michelle Massart

Michelle Massart is new graduate with a Masters in Sustainability and Environmental Studies. She’s currently living in Ottawa, Ontario working for the Government of Canada. Michelle has a keen interest in responsible and sustainable environmental policies that will protect the health of our planet for future generations. Her true passions lie in renewable energies, sustainable waste management and air quality monitoring. She believes our world will one day achieve global carbon responsibility. In her free time you’re most likely to find Michelle outdoors, enjoying nature!

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