The Pressure to Consume

In Laudato Si, Pope Francis speaks of rampant consumerism:

Since the market tends to promote extreme consumerism in an effort to sell its products, people can easily get caught up in a whirlwind of needless buying and spending. 

Do you feel the pressure to consume? 

How many pairs of jeans do you own? Think about it. The styles, the washes…Skinny, boyfriend, flare, destroyed. My guess is that you have at least 3 pairs of jeans and many of you have more.  

Did you know that it takes around 1,800 gallons of water to grow enough cotton to produce just one pair of jeans. ONE PAIR! I wear jeans all the time. I was surprised when I learned of the environmental impact of denim. 

But what can we do about it? Obviously, you could start by deciding to purchase less clothing. How many pairs of jeans do you really need? Or you could only purchase fair trade, sustainable denim, but that can be pricey and though the human impact is better, and less toxins are released by the manufacturing process, the amount of water used to grow the cotton is about the same. (Lest, you think the problem is only jeans, bear in mind that it takes about 400 gallons on average to produce the average cotton t-shirt.) 

What about used jeans? Before you wrinkle your nose at the concept, let me tell you about some of the great ways to purchase used jeans. First of all, you can purchase (and donate) used clothing at St. Vincent de Paul, Goodwill, and other non-profit thrift stores. Alternately, you can buy (and sell) your clothing at consignment shops such as Buffalo Exchange in Ballard and Labels Consignment in Phinney Ridge. And there are many new ways to buy used online. ThredUp ( and Poshmark ( are two good options that allow you to buy and sell clothing online. Their advanced search filters allow you to select clothing features and sizing that makes finding what you want easier. 

Is your monthly clothing budget costing too much for both you and the environment? Care to share a favorite place to buy used clothing? Please share at

Working together, we can help take care of our common home.

Suzanna Litwin

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