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LETTER: Langley woman asks if society can hit the reset switch

The pandemic has people thinking about consumerism and how to change society

Dear Editor,

During the pandemic lockdown we are reading headlines like ‘Venice canals are crystal clear’ or ‘Air pollution falls nearly 40 per cent in some Canadian cities’.

Poor Mother Nature is breathing a sigh of relief.

What if we could somehow carry on with this unexpected silver lining? Because we have been forced to slow down, this has become a time of reflection. We are examining things like our relationships, our lifestyles and our consumption.

Many jobs are switching to permanent work-from-home positions. This will result in a reduction of energy spent on a workspace and commute. Could virtual business meetings become the new norm? This would result in reduced air travel.

Far flung vacations that would once have been considered once in a lifetime we take once or twice a year. Could we be just as happy with more modest holidays which don’t involve the frightening carbon footprint of air travel? Sonia Sodha writes in the Guardian: “A radical way to cut emissions – ration everyone’s flights.”

What about material things?

How about lifetime quality things like a monogrammed refillable pen rather than millions of disposables ending up in the landfill? How about things that can actually be repaired?

The “capsule” wardrobe which consists of essential quality pieces of clothing that you actually love and wear is becoming popular. Do you really need a walk-in closet full of (often unworn) clothing?

If we changed the way we consume – even the way we eat – it would affect many industries. With any change there is upheaval, but it leads to eventual transition. We must transform our consumption habits so we can drink the water and breathe the air.

Michelle Matich, Langley

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