De-stuffing with Common Threads

Have you heard about Patagonia’s Common Threads Initiative? The initiative encourages Reduce, Repair, Reuse, Recycle, and Reimagine. It’s about de-stuffing our lives—the part of our lives related to consumption of outdoor clothing, at least. They were already repairing used Patagonia clothing and taking back worn clothing for recycling, but now they are pulling all of this together into one program. They are even encouraging customers to buy used Patagonia clothing on eBay, both from the original owners and from Patagonia itself.

Cynics are saying that this is a brilliant marketing scheme designed to ensure customer loyalty, but I don’t think they need that. Patagonia customers are already loyal, and Patagonia has long shown their dedication to the environment through the actions of the company itself and those of the people who work there.

Plus, with so much in the world to discourage a person, I choose to believe that this initiative will reduce some amount of the overused stuff of our lives and that it will help us rethink consumption. We don’t have to consume nothing (yet). By reconsidering what stuff we need and how we deal with that stuff during its lifecycle, we can change our own lives and model responsible, sustainable consumption for the people around us—especially for our children.

While you are thinking about stuff, today the latest film is released from Annie Leonard of The Story of Stuff. The latest is called The Story of Broke, about why we DO have enough money in the world to take care of the petrochemical addiction and other issues we’ve created in the stuff economy. Watch the new film. I’m going to watch it and get back to you about it this Saturday.

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