Even before the pandemic, our town centres and high streets were soulless places. Many shops were boarded up and those that weren‚’t offered little variety. In some towns, hubs that were once bustling places of community became empty, the only remaining vendors were pay day lenders and cut price shops. For those towns that – until the pandemic, at least – had kept high street shops open, the shops on offer sold little to excite and most offered almost identical products (how many variations on the cardigan can you possibly have?!)
This entrenched and commercialised culture has caused numerous problems:
Our town centres are not places of community. You go, you buy things that you don‚’t need from a mega-corporation (one of the ones that hasn‚’t gone under), you eat some fast food (another mega-corporation), and you go home. If this is what is considered a shared experience in our communities, it‚’s no wonder there is such division in our society. There is little to distinguish your town from the next one over and nothing to help foster a sense of community spirit.
This dynamic has also led us to fast fashion and a throw-away culture. We are driven to get new things, even when we don‚’t need them. It‚’s been a travesty for our environment and something has to change if we are going to meet our climate goals.
On the subject of consumerism, I am like many young people in that I‚’ve been brought up to value material goods almost as much as I value people. What kind of lesson is that to teach our children?
Lastly, many of these cheaply made clothes were produced by people on the other side of the world who earn next to nothing. That has to stop.