疯狂英语·新阅版 2020年5期

Before reading

Do the preparation task first. Then read the text and do the exercises.

Preparation task

Match the definitions (A~H) with the vocabulary (1~8).

Vocabulary Definitions

1. overconsumption A. to hit someone with a lot of information, without pausing

2. disposable B. designed to be thrown away after use

3. consumerism C. a place where rubbish is buried under the ground

4. to bombard D. to appear

5. to spring up E. the practice of buying and owning lots of products

6. a landfill site F. the act of spending more money than you should

7. overspending G. using too much of something

8. an influencer H. someone who uses social media to advertise products to their followers

Social media, magazines and shop windows bombard people daily with things to buy, and British consumers are buying more clothes and shoes than ever before. Online shopping means it is easy for customers to buy without thinking, while major brands offer such cheap clothes that they can be treated like disposable items which are worn two or three times and then thrown away.

In Britain, the average person spends more than £1,000 on new clothes a year, which is around four percent of their income. That might not sound like much, but that figure hides two far more worrying trends for society and for the environment. First, a lot of consumers are paying by credit cards. British people currently owe approximately £670 per adult to credit card companies. Thats 66 percent of the average wardrobe budget. Also, not only are people spending money they dont have, but theyre using it to buy things they dont need. Britain throws away 300,000 tons of clothing a year, most of which goes into landfill sites.

People might not realise they are part of the disposable clothing problem because they donate their unwanted clothes to charities. But charity shops cant sell all those unwanted clothes. “Fast fashion” goes out of fashion as quickly as it came in and is often of too poor quality to recycle; people dont want to buy it second?hand. Huge quantities end up being thrown away, and a lot of clothes that charities cant sell are sent abroad, causing even more economic and environmental problems.

However, a different trend is springing up in opposition to consumerism—the Buy Nothing trend. The idea originated in Canada in the early 1990s and then moved to the US, where it became a rejection of the overspending and overconsumption of Black Friday and Cyber Monday during Thanksgiving weekend. On Buy Nothing Day people organise various types of protests and cut up their credit cards. Throughout the year, Buy Nothing groups organise the exchange and repair of items they already own.

The trend has now reached influencers on social media who usually share posts of clothing and make?up that they recommend people to buy. Some YouTube stars now encourage their viewers not to buy anything at all for periods as long as a year. Two friends in Canada spent a year working towards buying only food. For the first three months they learned how to live without buying electrical goods, clothes or things for the house. For the next stage, they gave up services, such as haircuts, eating out at restaurants or buying petrol for their cars. In one year, theyd saved $55,000.

The changes they made meant two fewer cars on the roads, a reduction in plastic and paper packaging and a positive impact on the environment from all the energy saved. If everyone followed a similar plan, the results would be impressive. But even if you cant manage a full year without going shopping, you can participate in the anti?consumerist movement by refusing to buy things you dont need. Buy Nothing groups send a clear message to companies that people are no longer willing to accept the environmental and human cost of overconsumption.

Task 1

True(T) or false(F)

(  )1. People buy clothes because they want to throw them away.

(  )2. The writer thinks it is worrying that people spend money on things they do not need.

(  )3. The amount the average Briton owes to credit cards is one third of the amount they spend on clothes each year.

(  )4. Only a very small proportion of unwanted clothes are thrown away.

(  )5. Charities can find ways to use clothes even if they are not of very good quality.

(  )6. Buy Nothing Day is a protest against credit cards.

(  )7. The two friends who did the Buy Nothing experiment only bought food for 12 months.

(  )8. If everyone followed the Buy Nothing idea, the environment would benefit.

Task 2

Complete the sentences with words from the box.

[sites   hand   spending   shops   fashion   away]

1. “Fast                 ” is made quickly and cheaply.

2. Some clothing is so cheap that people can afford to wear it a couple of times and throw it                 .

3. There is a worrying trend for more consumers                  on credit cards.

4. Giving clothes to charity                  does not completely solve the problem.

5. Make sure you only donate clothes that people will want to buy second?                .

6. A lot of clothes donated to charity cannot be reused and end up in landfill                 .


What do you think about the Buy Nothing trend?