Cutting consumption increases the quality of life

We have been starving since May 5, 2022. You don't notice anything about that? And yet it would be the case if all people on earth consumed as many resources as we Germans do. On the so-called Overshoot Day for Germany, all renewable resources would then be used up. If everyone lived as we do, we would need three Earths. If everyone lived like the people in the USA, we would need five. As Jamaicans, we would get by with just one.

By the way, we are not even talking about non-renewable resources such as oil, gas, rare earths, sand for the construction industry, etc. yet. That is a sobering balance sheet. But you can improve this balance - and at the same time increase your quality of life.

Consume less, enjoy more

Because my point here is not to develop a horror scenario or to threaten you with a raised forefinger. What I want to point out to you is this: Overshootday says something about our lifestyle. And if it is our lifestyle that is consuming the world's resources at a rapid pace, then we can do something about it. Every single one of us. We need to - just - change our consumption patterns. In many cases, that means: You have to be willing to give up things you might take for granted: Do we really have to go on vacation by plane once or even three times every year? I, too, love to travel. Travel broadens the horizon. But the Black Forest is enough for me to catch my breath and recharge my batteries; it doesn't have to be the Maldives every time. And a vacation on the bike or on a hiking tour is, in my eyes, not a sacrifice of quality of life - on the contrary.

Consume more consciously, live more beautifully

Another suggestion for doing without doing without: buy fresh vegetables and salad at the weekend market. For me, just strolling among the stalls every Saturday morning is a quality of life gain. And the salad there is much fresher, tastier, has a higher energy value - and is unpackaged. You don't produce plastic waste when you shop at the market. Well, you have to wash and sort it yourself. But in the process, you also develop a much better awareness of the product all by yourself than if you just put it ready-prepared from the plastic bag into the salad bowl.

Shopping at the market or in farm stores also makes you much more aware of where our food actually comes from and how it is produced, what is or isn't available at what time of year, how different carrots taste in spring, summer or winter.

And if you buy regionally and unpackaged, you not only protect the environment (by saving waste but alsoCO2 through the shorter transport routes): You'll also quickly realize how much tastier these products are than those from the supermarket shelf. Yes, these products are a bit more expensive, but by doing so, you also shop more consciously and throw away less. This is also a gain in quality of life, because for me personally it hurts every time I have to throw away a food item just because I bought too much of it.

Heike Hundertmark

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