[Image Source: Material Excesses of Christmas are a Moral Problem: Objecting to the Extreme Spending, Borrowing, Materialism
Image © Austin Cline, Original Poster: Library of Congress, USA]
If full environmental costs were embedded into consumer products pricing, then the price of high environmental cost consumer products would rise, making them less affordable and so their consumption would fall. Rampant consumerism is unaffordable to the planet anyway. But what we pay for consumer items is artificially subsidised by leaving out the environmental impact costs. Throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries, developed countries have partied with free lunches, and now we are learning that there is not such thing long term. The planet and its nature is now paying for that free lunch. We need only read the next article below by Bandicoot 12th November, 'Are we witnessing the death of our planet?'
Conspicuous consumption and decadence deserves taxing, because its costs are destructive on the planet and need to be curbed.
I propose a 'planet cost' measure on all products and services globally. This being the full lifecycle cost of a product/service in terms of its environmental cost on the planet - from manufacturing/procurement, inventory, marketing, distribution, to its consumption and waste ('dust to dust' so to speak).
Planet cost needs to be mitigated by imposing behavioural changes on human consumption. Carrots only encouraged those who want to change, so a behavioural stick (aka a 'planet tax') is needed for those conspicuous consumers who don't and who don't give a rats.
In order to determine the tax rate, simply apply a planet impact global test base on severity and scale relative to the other products/services.
So a plastic bottle of phosphate-based laundry detergent used in standard sewerage (so 20th C) would be priced at $30, whereas a reusable glass bottle of phosphate-free detergent used in a grey water reuse system would cost only $15. With such disparate pricing, behavioural change wouldn't take long!
"Some of the money spent on Christmas wrapping paper, decorations, and unwanted gifts might do some good feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and tending the sick." [Austin Cline, Austin Cline's Agnosticism / Atheism Guide].
Do the planet a favour, buy fewer xmas gifts. Catch up with family and friends instead!
Snowy River Region
Sat, 2010-11-13 14:29
Junking of perfectly good monitors proves we need "planet tax"
Sat, 2010-11-13 16:22
Christmas has been hijacked by commercial interests
Sat, 2010-11-13 19:59
December 25: Renewal of the Sun
Mon, 2010-11-15 01:15
Same goes for birth of Spring rights or 'Easter'
Mon, 2010-11-15 09:52
Cultural change easier to start with 'R&R' focus
Conspicuous human consumption is one of the key human activities driving planet harm and xmas is a key event of that harmful habit. No more rampant is the conspicuous consumption of xmas each year, especially in western developed countries, and it is these western developed countries that are causing the most planet harm by their high per capita consumption.
But calling for people to reject the habitual ancient tradition of xmas altogether in favour of a return to paganism, is a tad utopian and would only invite stonewalling and risk inciting religious anger.
A more workable approach is to first expose and communicate the planet harm of conspicouos consumption and of the harmful role of xmas, then offer acceptable alternatives in small iterative ways.
Cultural change is easier to start with promoting an 'R&R' focus, which is what many people do at year's end anyway. The first priority is to convince high per capita consumers in western developed countries like Australia and the United States that lots of presents is harmful and that the values of the occasion are not about giving material things but in R&R which involves sharing time with people one values.
This is why I wrote a follow up article on CanDoBetter the following day:
'R&R' focus offers more value and benefit than the dogma of xmas
Perhaps the simple phrases 'happy holidays' is one worth promoting as a replacement to 'merry xmas' with all its religious and consumerism overtones.
Snowy River Region
Enne K (not verified)
Sat, 2010-11-13 17:20
Pets are not throw-away items
Funnelweb bill (not verified)
Sat, 2010-11-13 19:32