Shopping in one form or another has existed for millennia but, aside from a few slumps, each generation has outdone the previous one. In the past fifty years, shopping—and its associated carbon footprint—has grown exponentially.
Berton argues that if we invented today's consumer culture, then we can invent something to replace it. We can do a better job of making the cycle of stuff truly circular rather than linear. We can be more environmentally, socially and politically conscious of what we buy and how it comes to us—and where it will go after we are finished with it. A species that has made shopping ubiquitous can figure all these things out with little more than co-operation and creativity, and by asking if it is really necessary to "own it now" as we have been told—endlessly—since childhood. Must we possess a thing to enjoy it? Do we really need all that stuff? (From Douglas & McIntyre)
Paul Berton is an award-winning journalist and editor-in-chief of The Hamilton Spectator.