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Don’t buy this jacket!

April 17, 2007

I will not by a new shell jacket from Swedish outdoor clothing company Klättermusen. Not this year, not next year and most likely not the year thereafter either.

“Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!”

– Oscar Wilde, the Ballad of Reading Gaol

Each man kills the thing he loves. I am one of the uncountable nature lovers guilty of killing our beloved a little each and every day. Paradoxically, for some of us, it is just our very love for nature that makes us harm her the most. We kill her with the very flights and car rides we take to meet with her, and by the equipment we use once we are in her sweet embrace. In our eagerness to enjoy our encounters with nature fully, we buy loads of equipment. When this is worn out, we throw it away and buy newer, better equipment. Making all this equipment requires a lot of resources: Raw materials (often made from oil) energy, packaging, fuel for transport etc. Many of these resources are non-renewable, and our using some of them lead to emission of greenhouse gases, causing global warming. Thus, our eagerness to fully enjoy skiing cause the very snow to melt underneath our skis.

Many skiers, mountain bikers, canoers, hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts who truly love nature also harbor a strong love for equipment and gadgets. Many of us are guilty of buying loads of new stuff every year, even though the old stuff still works perfectly. The manufacturers of gear and wear nurture this urge for the new as best they can with flashy catalogues and web sites. Therefore, it was something of a novelty when the catalogue for Swedish mountain equipment manufacturer Klättermusen had a preface warning readers not to buy a new jacket this year. The text went on to explain how our habit of replacing old with new puts a tremendous strain on our beloved planet.

Of course Klättermusen writes this partly because the want to make money on a green profile. Of course they want us to buy their products instead of other brands. Still, I want to believe them when they state that they don’t want us to buy things we don’t need. I find their writing this in their catalogue rather sympathetic. So sympathetic in fact, that I find myself wanting to buy one of their jackets. But it won’t happen this year!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 27, 2007 2:33 pm

    Very interesting that they put out the plea on a catalogue! I’ve often thought of this issue in terms of books, and I have never read that Wilde quote, thank you for sharing it. I am another nature lover who certainly contributes to killing her while enjoying her–and then I think of all the trees destroyed for the books I love most and it is unsettling. A quick google search turned up an article that noted Random House had signed something in May 2006 to move towards using more recycled paper, but didn’t find a list of any major publishing houses that currently do. Perhaps the volume they produce makes it impossible? I’ll have to dig a bit more into the issue.



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