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How Millennials Fell Out Of Love With Their Possessions

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The minimalist lifestyle is on the rise. Defined by people who strip back what they own to the bare essentials, this is a way of life that actively fights against the consumerist compulsion to relentlessly buy more things. While this movement — although growing — is still small, its values are being taken on board by a generation of young people who have become alienated by societal pressure and social norms, realising that they are utterly inundated with things they don’t want or need.

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Millennials appear to be fast falling out of love with their possessions. Dubbed “Generation Rent,” the attendant ideas of transience and insecurity have seeped into other areas of their lives. As they become locked out from and ever more disinterested in ownership, the importance of experiences and authenticity grows. For many young people, the trade off between labouring the long hours that the modern workplace demands and the rewards it can bring — like finally being able to put a deposit down on a house they only half like at 40, or buying a barely improved model of the latest mobile phone — hardly seems worth it.

Soaring house prices, the stagnation of wages, and huge amounts of personal debt have all contributed to this. The traditional nine-to-five has all but disappeared, and work has become unreliable and insecure. With many people finding that they have to buy even fairly unostentatious items, like furniture, on finance, they are very aware (especially with the last financial crash sharp in their memory) that it can all be taken away from them. Also, in a generation that values travel, personal growth, and self-expression, possessions are becoming viewed as increasingly burdensome.

This is evident in the wealthiest sections of society. Even though financial considerations are certainly a factor in the rejection of ownership to the majority of people, it’s freedom from proprietorship and the responsibility it brings which has proved irresistible to the rich. The growth of super car hire, the emergence of exclusive property investment clubs where luxury properties are shared rather than owned, and the wealthy renting our their properties attest to this. It all points to an elite who are becoming increasingly disinterested in actually owning anything, and who instead want to pursue a free and unencumbered kind of existence.

By following this way of life, wealthy people can enjoy the traditional trappings of the super-rich without actually possessing any of it. The “Homeless Billionaire” Nicolas Berggruen particularly embodies this mindset. He travels the world with a small bag of clothes and his phone, staying in hotels and leading a hugely affluent, yet possession-free, lifestyle. The fact that even the very rich are falling out of love with the idea of ownership is striking, and displays that it isn’t only lack of money that is alienating people from the constant acquisition of goods. To a certain extent, it’s even possible to say that minimalism has become a symbol of luxury.

The influence of fashion cannot be overestimated when considering this trend. The hipster movement – arguably the defining trend of the millennial generation so far – valued authenticity, uniqueness, and good taste (even if, at times, this was or was interpreted as hypocritical, elitist, or insincere), turning “mindless” consumerism into a negative reflection on someone’s character. This translated to people making thoughtful choices and buying fewer goods, with a particular emphasis on handmade and non-corporate items.

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Slow fashion, the craft movement, and the unstoppable rise of “vintage” all represent this. In such an atmosphere, endlessly buying things could be seen as crass and gauche, a failure to appreciate the less tangible and more important things in life. This is combined with genuinely felt environmental concerns. People are becoming increasingly aware of the impact the constant production of throwaway items has on the world around them and are choosing to opt out of environmentally damaging practices.

Technological improvements also play a role. Millennials have been moving away from the idea of ownership because the concept in itself has become so intangible. Now, most of our consumption of music, books, games, and films involves a transaction where absolutely nothing physical is exchanged. It’s possible to own an entire library of literature and not one physical book, and as Millennials start to play out their lives on social media with as much or more intensity as their real-world life, the illusion of something can be just as valuable as its tangible counterpart.

This is can be seen everywhere on the Internet. Sharing photos of the food at a nice restaurant is fast becoming just as important to the experience as actually eating the meal. Many young people, whether consciously or not, are constantly building their “personal brand,” something ethereal that can be much more advantageous than any material possession. In this case, having the material symbols of a certain lifestyle isn’t half as important as appearing to have them.

This is where the increased value Millennials have placed on experiences really comes into focus. On Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook, beautifully posed photographs from travel destinations around the world are going to have a lot more traction with an audience than a picture of a newly-purchased state of the art TV. In this context, the TV is banal, and can even give an impression of shallow and unimaginative personality. In the (heavily edited and hugely romanticised) photos of adventures and experiences, Millennials can nail their colours to the mast, broadcasting the impression that they are an interesting and thoughtful person.

Perhaps most pertinently, people – even those who can afford to buy into any excess of capitalism they wish – have begun to realise that constantly acquiring and discarding waves of stuff isn’t making them happy. In the developed world, humanity lives in the safest and most comfortable state it has ever achieved, yet many still feel unfulfilled and sometimes even truly miserable. The number of Americans so affected by mental health issues that they qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) increased nearly two and a half times between 1987 and 2007, and this is reflected in other countries throughout the world.

In this environment, people are casting around for more meaning. Working constantly simply to buy the next best thing has proved hollow and unsatisfactory to many people, even if they are lucky enough to be able to afford to, which many people have found they aren’t. While obvious factors such as the growing popularity of the minimalist movement and people actively unburdening themselves of the things they own is the most striking example of this sentiment, it’s something that can be felt across the Millennial generation.

As technology continues to advance, conservation and ecological issues become ever more stark, and the real, material world loses favour to the one that can be found online, the concept of ownership could find itself becoming ever more irrelevant. With Millennials gradually falling out of love with their possessions, it could be the generations that follow them will pioneer a new way of life, away from the consumerist mindset that has defined the past few decades.

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IKEA Plans To Switch From Styrofoam Packaging To A Mushroom-Based Alternative

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Styrofoam is harmful to our planet, which is why it's great to see IKEA switching all styrofoam packaging products to a compostable mushroom-based alternative.

  • Reflect On:

    If more sustainable options exist why wouldn't we implement them now? As consumers we have a say in creating the type of world we want to live in.

The cat’s out of the bag, by now the vast majority of us are aware that Styrofoam is bad for our environment as it doesn’t decompose and, in its production process, leaches toxic chemicals into our environment. Yet, despite this awareness, it is still being used on a massive scale to package anything from your new flat screen TV to your late night sushi rolls. As consumers we can choose to either support the companies that are contributing to the waste epidemic on our planet — or not.

Thankfully, as awareness grows, some large corporations like furniture giant IKEA are leading the way and choosing more sustainable and harmonious products. No doubt these sustainable options will appeal more to the conscious consumer and even though we can’t be clear as to whether or not these decisions are being made because of a general concern for our environment or because of growing consumer awareness, it doesn’t really matter because, regardless of the why, things are shifting for the better.

Compostable Alternative

Ikea has announced that they will be looking to switch all of their packaging materials from Styrofoam to a new substance called MycoComposite, which is made out of mushrooms and other organic materials. This material is entirely natural and compostable; it grows within a week and will decompose within 30 days. It can also be reused if it is kept dry.

This was a product we wrote about 7 years ago! And here it is today, finally getting the attention it deserves.

The process to create this packaging material is quite simple really–from Intelligent Living:

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  • Agricultural byproducts such as hemp, husk, oat hulls, and cotton burrs are pressed into the desired shape that can fit around items as packaging.
  • Then, it is seeded with mushroom spores that sprout mycelium (a root structure) after a few days.
  • The mycelium threads rapidly through the structure and binds it together to form a shock-resistant and durable packaging material.
  • The last step is to heat-treat the material to kill spores in order to arrest further growth of the fungus.

Mushroom-based packaging uses only about 12% of the energy that is used in plastic production and produces 90% fewer carbon emissions than plastic/Styrofoam production. Non-petroleum-based packaging is just another step towards ending our reliance on fossil fuels; there are plenty of alternative options available, we just need to look. In some cases we simply need to put on our thinking caps, we are a creative, problem-solving species and no doubt there are much more harmonious alternatives for many of our current processes.

The SWOT Analysis below conveys the advantage that Mushroom based materials has over plastic.

Strengths

  • Biodegradable
  • Easily grown from agricultural waste products which are plentiful
  • Strong, lightweight, mouldable
  • Produced using less energy
  • No waste or pollution from the process itself
  • Inexpensive
  • No health risks

Weakness

  • Takes longer to produce than most plastics
  • Less variability and range of products can be produced
  • Not as fire resistant/good as Styrofoam

Opportunities

  • Replace plastic products as a socially and environmentally safe alternative
  • Research is ongoing to improve and create more products
  • Community development through GIY initiatives

Threats

  • Compete against already strongly established plastic dependence (suppliers, manufactures, buyers)
  • Opposition to fungus grown product, misinformed views

One Small Step Towards Massive Change

Just think for a moment, not even just about the hundreds of IKEA stores worldwide, but consider all the big box retailers like Amazon and ALL OF THE STYROFOAM packaging that is being used and where all of that ends up. The fact that technology even exists for us to use a compostable alternative should leave the other substances completely behind. Because why would we continue using materials that are harmful for our planet if working alternatives already exist? That’s a whole other topic, and I’m sure you already know all about the why.

IKEA’s Head of Sustainability, Joanna Yarrow, said this was the retailer’s “small yet significant step towards reducing waste and conserving ecological balance.”

Another Ikea spokesperson told The Telegraph, “IKEA wants to have a positive impact on people and planet, which includes taking a lead in turning waste into resources, developing reverse material flows for waste materials and ensuring key parts of our range are easily recycled. IKEA has committed to take a lead in reducing its use of fossil-based materials while increasing its use of renewable and recycled materials.”

Yes, it may be a small step, but just think of how big this step really is, and we can only hope that other retailers will follow in the footsteps of IKEA. Maybe it goes without saying, but we do have a say in the matter. If other retailers aren’t willing to give up their use of Styrofoam, then we can choose to shop elsewhere, and if enough people do the same, then these other retailers will have no choice but to change their ways. This is why raising awareness is so important.

Much Love

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ABC & CBS Fire The ‘Leaker’ of Video Showing Anchor Amy Robach Commenting On Jeffrey Epstein

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A producer at CBS was fired after ABC said she was the person who had leaked the video detailing how ABC prevented the airing of a sensational interview with a prominent victim of Jeffrey Epstein.

  • Reflect On:

    Are the recent testimonies from mainstream media insiders starting to hone our discernment about what is real and what is fake in our perceptions of the world?

In the wake of a firestorm of criticism being heaped upon mainstream media companies ABC and CBS as a result of their response to a leaked video featuring ABC anchor Amy Robach, more and more people are awakening to the possibility that Mainstream Media is more in the business of hiding the critical truths humanity needs to know rather than reporting on them. Indeed, phrases like ‘the news you need to know’ is sounding more like a parent shielding children from information that would actually help them grow up.

The latest episode started about a week ago, with the surfacing of a video featuring ABC anchor Amy Robach complaining that the network had refused to air her interview with a prominent accuser of convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. This is some of what she had to say:

I had this interview with Virginia Roberts. We would not put it on the air. First of all, I was told, “Who’s Jeffrey Epstein? No one knows who that is. This is a stupid story.” Then the palace found out that we had her whole allegations about Prince Andrew and threatened us a million different ways.

It was unbelievable what we had, Clinton, we had everything. I tried for 3 years to get it on to no avail… There will come a day when we realize Jeffrey Epstein was the most prolific pedophile this country has ever known.

The fact that Robach freely implies that Buckingham Palace had prevented her news organization from broadcasting an interview damaging to them is very telling. Joe Martino discusses Robach’s testimony more in-depth in this article he wrote right after it happened.

ABC Goes Into Damage Control

Predictably, ABC News downplayed the significance of the video, saying that Robach’s Epstein story wasn’t fit to air at the time. They were quick to try to convince their counterparts at Fox News that everything is all on the up-and-up:

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“At the time, not all of our reporting met our standards to air, but we have never stopped investigating the story. Ever since, we’ve had a team on this investigation and substantial resources dedicated to it. That work has led to a two-hour documentary and six-part podcast that will air in the new year.”–ABC Spokesperson

Uh-huh. So it’s taken them three years to fully suss out the validity of this interview, and there’s still another year to wait before we get to hear the story? That’s some pretty tough and thorough standards.

But wait a minute: isn’t this the same news organization that recently made the lightning-fast decision to broadcast a video from a 2017 Kentucky gun exhibition showcasing the awesome power of new military weaponry and try to pass it off as the current-day slaughter of Kurds by the Turkish army?

‘Leaker’ Gets Fired

ABC’s efforts to ‘rectify’ the situation has only left them with more egg on their face. It is no surprise that they completely discount Robach’s claim that outside influence (Buckingham Palace) had any bearing on their decision not to air the interview, as well as Rorbach’s claim that this interview really ‘had everything’; but if Robach’s claims were just their anchor’s erroneous and self-inflating testimony about the integrity and value of her story, would the network really have reason to be so upset that this video came out?

In a move designed to clearly send a message to other would-be leakers of ‘sensitive’ internal information, ABC has worked hard to identify the employee suspected of leaking the Robach video to watchdog group Project Veritas.

Their investigation led them to Ashley Bianco, a former producer on ABC’s “Good Morning America” who joined “CBS This Morning” last month. After ABC executives informed their counterparts at CBS of their suspicions, she lost her job.

There’s just one problem, though. Bianco adamantly denies that she is the leaker.

Bianco Speaks Out

“I did not leak the tape,” Bianco told journalist Megyn Kelly in an interview posted on YouTube. “I’m not the whistleblower. I’m sorry to ABC, but the leaker is still inside.” She said she was fired by CBS after the network received a call from ABC informing her new boss that she once had access to the leaked video.

Bianco told Kelly that she doesn’t know who leaked the tape because “everyone” at ABC was aware it existed. She also insisted she had never heard of Project Veritas before this week. “I begged, I pleaded, I didn’t know what I had done wrong,” she told Kelly. “I wasn’t even given the professional courtesy to defend myself. It was humiliating, it was devastating.”

Compounding this was the fact that Project Veritas published a note from the alleged real “ABC insider” it claimed was behind the leak.

Using the pseudonym ‘Ignotus,’ the alleged leaker began the piece published by Project Veritas by stressing, “I did not and do not seek any personal gain from this information whether it be financial or otherwise,” and expressed their desire to make the information public out of “anger, confusion and sadness.”

“I’ve walked the halls experiencing similar feelings we are all having right now,” wrote the supposed leaker, addressing ABC employees. “All of you regardless of your own personal differences in one form or another do an outstanding job. I sincerely enjoy working with each and every one of you and will continue to do so throughout our careers.”

Ignotus then addressed “those wrongfully accused,” an apparent reference to Bianco:

It is terrible that you have been lashed out at by the company. I know some may put the burden of guilt on me, but my conscience is clear. The actions of the company towards you are the result of their own and not anyone else. The public outcry, from coast to coast, of all people, creeds, and political affiliations, is clear. I have not one doubt that there will always be support for you, and you will have prosperous careers. For neither you, nor I, have done anything wrong.

NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck highlighted the hypocrisy by saying that this is ‘an example of how the liberal elites have decided that the very journalistic ethics that are extolled in journalism schools and advocacy groups are no more than empty promises.’

Indeed, more and more signs are coming out that mainstream media is breaking apart from the inside, as the many honest and hard-working employees like CNN’s Cary Poarch and this most recent whistleblower become emboldened to extol the true journalistic virtues of integrity, fairness, and neutrality, and show how the current mainstream media machine has become anything but a proponent of those values.

The Takeaway

One of our highest aims here at CE is to examine and understand the distinctions between how the world really is, and how we are perceiving it as a result of social engineering and mass perception-building strategies that have been in place in various forms for ages. The current revelations about the hypocrisy of mainstream media provides fertile grounds for our growing discernment of this.

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How Facebook Has Become The Strategic Media Mouthpiece For The Global Elite

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Facebook has made deals with mainstream media outlets to pay for their news content, further turning Facebook from a neutral social media platform into a conglomerate that supports a political bias and the agenda of the global elite.

  • Reflect On:

    What can conscious media outlets do to overcome growing censorship and mainstream bias from the big tech companies and ensure that you continue to get neutral, agenda-free news coverage and commentary on the issues of the day?

It’s not clear whether Facebook was truly conceived by an innocent genius with noble intent, but one fact has become abundantly clear: Facebook is now a mouthpiece and tool for the proliferation of mainstream perception. This is specifically designed to enrich the global elite and continue to disenfranchise ordinary citizens and any attempts to bring important truths to light that would threaten the elite. And, of course, Mark Zuckerberg is now a ‘junior partner’ in this global elite.

The episode of the Jimmy Dore show found in the video below, which is worth watching to get the full context of the discussion, introduces whistleblower Vikram Kumar, a former promoter of third-party videos on Facebook. Dore brings interesting insights into Facebook’s latest strategies in terms of controlling the news commentary. He explains how Facebook is proliferating the establishment’s narrative while limiting and blocking alternative voices which, of course, Facebook characterizes as ‘Fake News’. Here, Kumar discusses Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony in Congress to this effect:

Back in 2017 there was that TechCrunch report that said that Facebook was taking measures to stop the spread of ‘Fake News’ by banning certain political accounts from promoting their videos on their newsfeed. So when I heard Mark Zuckerberg in 2018 telling Congress that he would be doing the same thing, I thought, what changed between 2017 and 2018? Are they taking new measures, are they re-taking the measures?  And it wasn’t until a week later that I realized that Variety Magazine reported that Facebook Watch, which is Facebook’s media platform, had reached a multi-million dollar deal with CNN, Fox News, ABC, and large media outlets.

The congressional testimony was the perfect opportunity for the political establishment, the media establishment, and the tech companies to form an alliance against small media outlets.

Returning Media To The Global Elite’s Control

The process of bringing fundamentally liberating technologies like social media under control has been a difficult process, but the global elite seems to feel they are getting a handle on it. Since the big media giants Google, Facebook, Youtube and others are now strictly following the global elite playbook, with special algorithms and thinly-veiled censorship strategies, the process of promoting the elite agenda while suppressing dissenting voices is in full swing.

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One of the biggest issues to remedy was the lack of viewership that traditional mainstream media was getting from young people, which is really the target market not only for advertisers but the social engineering wing of the global elite as well. Here’s how Kumar describes it:

As you know, young people, they don’t watch cable… the viewership of Fox News, CNN, and ABC are dying off, they’re getting older and older, and so what Facebook is, is access to young people, right, and so they viewed small anti-establishment media outlets such as yourself as an existential threat to their next generation of revenue.

Tech companies view media companies extremely valuably, you could go back to 1996, there was that merger between Microsoft, General Electric and NBC to create MSNBC.com. A lot of people don’t know that the ‘MS’ in MSNBC stands for Microsoft, and the reason why media companies and tech companies are so intertwined with each other is ’cause you can influence young people so much when you have the distribution network of something like Facebook, and with Facebook Watch, and their media platform, and their deal with CNN, Fox News, and ABC, they’re able to indoctrinate the next generation of young people. And so they want to take viewership away from shows like yours, and put those young people that haven’t been paying attention with cable news back into the pockets of companies like Fox News, ABC, and CNN.

Every media company wants some of that Facebook Watch dough. And so the companies that have coverage that Facebook doesn’t like are out of there, and new companies that have coverage that Facebook likes are back into the deal. And so Facebook is already taking steps to craft the political landscape in the framing that they find positively. And so you get that whole thing where Facebook shuts down over 800 political pages and accounts, and even legitimate political pages that expose things like police brutality… you’re already seeing a coordinated effort from the establishment media and tech companies to kind of craft the narrative for young people.

This is how that Variety Magazine article Kumar talked about characterizes the deal between Facebook and Mainstream Media:

After going through the fake-news wringer, Facebook is shelling out money on original news content. The strategy is partly aimed at driving up viewing on its Facebook Watch platform — but it also is supposed to demonstrate the social-media giant’s commitment to funding trustworthy journalism.

A corporate conglomerate now giving itself the authority to judge what is and isn’t trustworthy journalism. What could possibly go wrong?

Is Facebook Still Just A Tech Company?

The slippery slope that Facebook is trying to anchor itself to is as clear as the nose on Mark Zuckerberg’s face. He continues to want us to think about Facebook as a social media platform whose objective is still ‘to make the world more open and connected,’ yet at the same time he wants Facebook to become the prime arbiter of the ‘news that is fit to print,’ or in this case, to decide which sources of news will benefit and not benefit from Facebook’s tremendous reach. The same Variety article reinforces the idea that Facebook is trying to have things both ways, gaining the advantages of defining itself as a tech company, and not taking on the liabilities inherent in being a media company:

In the past, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has remarked that Facebook is a technology company — not a media company. Asked whether Facebook is now in fact a media company, given that it’s paying for a growing slate of content, Brown responded, “Having worked for big media companies, I don’t think Facebook is a media company. But are we responsible for the media on Facebook? Yes.”

The fact is that we have entered into somewhat uncharted territory in terms of what defines a media company since the rise of the Internet. We can only hope that we will collectively awaken to the fact that Facebook has clearly gone beyond being a platform that provides equal access to all voices and commentaries, and has given in to the temptation to control the flow and proliferation of information. As this Wired article starts off,

FACEBOOK STEADFASTLY RESISTS categorization as a traditional media company. Instead, CEO Mark Zuckerberg insists on calling the social network a technology platform—even though nearly half of all American adults get their news on Facebook. These old arguments no longer work, especially as Facebook starts making its own video content.

It is incumbent upon the awakening community to clearly grasp what is happening here and to act accordingly in terms of our future engagement with social media sites like Facebook. It is important to see how Bill Clinton’s Telecommunications Act of 1996, which allowed media cross-ownership that led to mergers between tech companies and media companies, was a seed that has already started to bear the fruit of an Orwellian dystopia, where the global elite are permitted to continue to proliferate mainstream propaganda and limit exposure to alternative views that are a threat to their agenda.

The Takeaway

Conscious media outlets, like us here at Collective Evolution, are in the crosshairs of the recent efforts on the part of Facebook and other large media conglomerates to selectively control the proliferation of information. Our best hope in these times is that the awakening community makes deliberate choices in terms of which sources to tune in to. While the global elite may have the power, the wealth, and the technology, they are still pushing an agenda, which to discerning minds looks and sounds very different from the unbiased truth.

Our hope is that a growing number of people are seeing through the agenda of the global elite enough to be motivated to ensure that conscious media survives, and then thrives. One of the future goals of our Conscious Media Movement campaign is to strengthen an alliance between ourselves and other conscious media outlets and work together to find ways we can amplify the voice of truth and neutrality.

One of the first steps we are taking in our CMM campaign is to fund an Investigative Journalism team to join our efforts here at CE. To help support this, click here. 

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