There are a huge amount of awareness days and weeks to celebrate throughout the year. This week we have had National Chocolate Ice Cream Day and Hug Your Cat Day. Alongside the more serious World Environment Day and today is World Oceans Day. And of course Real Nappy Week.
As you may know, we don’t offer discounts during Real Nappy Week. Because I don’t believe that these weeks are about buying more. It is about raising awareness of issues that the planet and people face and what little changes we can make in our lives to make a difference. Or indeed hug your cat because well, why not.
I’ll be completely honest, these days send me into a flap because I usually read about them the next day. Or I post at 10.20pm. But not on World Environment Day. No – I had that one nailed. And I spent some time during the day reading through the 150,000 posts on Instagram about it. I like to read about what other people are doing to make those little changes and chat with them too. As is the purpose of social media and all that.
The focus for World Environment Day was about beating plastic pollution. Instagram was flooded with useful tips about how to reduce plastic usage with the hashtag #beatplasticpollution, along with awful picture and videos of sea creatures and birds surrounded by single-use plastics. I obviously added my two pennies worth and said my bit about how nappies are single-use plastic too.
I was stopped in my tracks by one post. By Pandora, the jewellers. I was intrigued and was ready to read about what they are doing to reduce plastic. But alas, no. They were using the hashtag to sell a feather pendant. Because to celebrate World Environment Day, you can pay tribute to Mother Earth by buying said feather pendant. Because it symbolises freedom and hope.
Because buying a necklace is totally going to save the planet. Obvs.
Not sure Don Draper from Mad Men could have made that one up.
The world is overwhelmed with stuff. People are working harder and longer to buy more stuff they don’t need because marketers, like the one who wrote the post about the pendant, are telling is we need it. Life will be better if we have those new shoes and bag. We have been told for so long that new is better than fixing and our brains are wired to get a dopamine hit when we purchase something.
But happiness does not lie in stuff. Stuff brings clutter and overwhelm. And we all have too much of that. It lies in memories, connections and experiences. And helping. Making a difference. And the world is slowly waking up to that. We are drowning in possessions and things. Working harder and longer for stuff that adds more onto our to-do lists than we realise.
Living with less is not minimalism, which usually evokes images of white spaces with one chair and one plant. It is more than that. It is about thinking before you buy. Being a conscious consumer is so important when making a difference to the environment. Starting with reducing the amount of things you buy and thinking about what you really need.
I’m currently debating whether to buy a new bed. Because the one I have now blocks the lovely view out of the windows in our bedroom. So amongst the other 123,959 things whirring around my head is do I need a new bed and what would it serve me. Given that lie-ins are no longer a thing. In fact lying down is barely a thing these days, so when would I even get to enjoy that view. I’m thinking I would be happier spending that money on a holiday when the view I get is from a sun bed watching the kids make some memories splashing around and building sandcastles.
This is why you don’t see Baba+Boo partaking in Black Friday and why we don’t do a lot of discounts. Because we believe in the quality of our product and we don’t want frenzied buying.
We all take pleasure in lovely things - photos and pictures that evoke fond memories, comfy chairs that we can snuggle in, nappies with gorgeous prints. But we have become so used to a world of ‘buy, buy, buy’ that we’ve lost sight of the difference between choosing necessities that are beautiful, and buying pretty things for the sake of it.
But when we do stop buying pendants to celebrate our planet, it’s not just the environment that benefits. Less time shopping equals more time with our growing-too-quickly babies. Spending less money means working less and playing more; fewer possessions means less things to sort, tidy and clean. And who doesn’t want that?