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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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Ghislaine Maxwell Arrested By FBI on Charges Connected To Jeffrey Epstein

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What Happened: Jeffrey Epstein’s confidant Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested this morning in New Hampshire according to FBI spokeswoman Adrienne Senatore. At this time, charges against Maxwell are sealed, and prosecutors have scheduled a midday press conference in New York to provide more details on the case.

Charges against Maxwell came almost a year after Epstein was arrested by FBI agents on July 6, 2019. Jeffrey Epstein allegedly killed himself in a federal jail in August 2019, although many believe he was killed given he could name many high profile figures connected to his ring.

Why It Matters: Maxwell is heavily connected to sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein who operated a sex/pedophile ring that tailored to high profile individuals, business people, entertainers and politicians.

Her arrest may be important in helping to bring down more people connected to the ring which include Hillary and Bill Clinton amongst other high profile names.

The Takeaway:

Humanity is in a process of ‘Breaking the Illusion’ we have come to accept about our reality. We have been living from a collective story that states we elect good people into government, and they act on our best interest. This categorically is not the case, and part of our collective awakening to creating solutions that can make our world thrive is waking up from this illusion we have chosen to accept.

People are beginning to learn en masse that high profile figures are involved in such acts like extreme occult rituals, sex trafficking and pedophilia, and they are beginning to wonder why. They are also beginning to question why we put our trust and support in people who operate in this manner.

Looking Deeper:

We have interviewed a survivor of elite pedophile rings like the one Epstein and Maxwell ran. Her name is Anneke Lucas and you can watch her full testimony here on CETV.

You can also watch a recent documentary called Out of Shadows that explores this topic in detail on CETV as well.

Read more about Epstein ad Maxwell here.

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Environmentalist Censored For Shifting His Opinion On Climate Change

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Forbes.com deleted a new article from environmentalist Michael Shellenberger. His perspective on climate change shifted, and he decided to write about it. Forbes wasn't having it.

  • Reflect On:

    Why are we deciding to censor different perspectives as opposed to explore them? Is our emotional intelligence so undeveloped collectively that we cannot have civil conversations?

What Happened: Michael Shellenberger, a long time environmentalist who has been in the trenches helping to save the world’s last unprotected redwoods, co-created the predecessor to today’s Green New Deal and led an effort to keep nuclear power plants operating in order to prevent a spike of emissions, has shifted his perspective on climate change. Prior to today, he was holding the perspective that we must be alarmed about the fact that the world will end in a short amount of time if we don’t act to reduce carbon emissions immediately.

He shifted his opinion based on exploring emerging science on the subject. He then went on to write a book called Never Apocalypse, which seeks to help explore what we can do to better our environment from a grounded and accurate point of view, as opposed to alarmism.

He wrote an article on Forbes website titled On Behalf of Environmentalists, I Apologize For the Climate Scare.” Two days laterForbes decided to remove his article.

Why It Matters: The fact that Forbes removed an article that was grounded, calm, well written and explored new conversations illustrates the emerging culture of ‘censor anything that can get us in trouble’ or ‘censor anything that doesn’t agree with mainstream conjecture.”

We’ve come into a time where our collective lack of emotional intelligence is surfacing deeply for us to address. When we disagree on something, we struggle to explore things together. When a company says something they feel might get them in trouble, they run away in fear that the angry mob will come after them.

All that happened here was a man wrote an article that brought some new light to a conversation that has been very polarized and is causing people to react out of emotion instead of logic and the heart. Instead of listening and exploring, censorship ensues.

The Takeaway: I spoke at a high school here in Toronto last year. At the end of my talk, many students came up to me to talk, discuss ideas and share feedback. The vast majority of them explained to me that they were terrified that the world was going to end in just a few years. They felt they had no future because of the acts of generations prior who were causing CO2 levels to rise so high that the world would end.

I thought to myself, wow, an entire generation of kids being pushed into fear, anxiety and depression based on information that isn’t even accurate. This information was created by politicians and pushed out by media. Scientists categorically do not agree with the idea that the world is coming to an end as a result of CO2 emissions. Yet not enough people are telling people this, most of media is staying silent on other perspectives and censorship even shuts down opposing ideas.

What type of world will we create if we can’t discuss basic ideas? What  type of world will we create when we choose to run, hide and censor as opposed to having important conversations? How can we stop identifying so deeply with positions, so that we can be more free to shift ideas when new information helps us understand things better?

Looking Deeper:

I made a film last year called Regenerate: Beyond The CO2 Narrative. After 10 years of researching and investigating climate change, I came to many conclusions that I felt needed to be shared, yet were extremely rare in public discourse. One of the most important aspects of Regenerate was that we simply are looking at our environment from such a limited point of view that we can’t identify the real issues we face, and that our level of thinking, or consciousness, is completely disconnected from the solutions required to truly shift our relationship with earth. Thus, we are creating solutions that never truly address making the environment cleaner or better long term.

I encourage you to check out the film trailer below, and if you wish to watch the film, it’s available on our member platform called CETV. You can start a free 7 day trial to watch it if you like. We also discuss this story in more detail in episode 2 of The Takeway, an orignal show we have on CETV.

Watch the full film here.

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Soft Drink Companies Caught Using Big Tobacco’s Playbook To Lure Young Children

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Documents obtained by researchers clearly outline the unethical and immoral actions Tobacco companies used to 'hook' kids onto sugary drinks. They use the same tactics they did for smoking.

  • Reflect On:

    Why do and have our federal health regulatory agencies allow such products to be approved as safe for consumption when they are clearly linked to a variety of diseases, like cancer?

Many moves made by multiple big corporations are extremely unethical, immoral, and downright shocking. These corporations have completely compromised our federal health regulatory agencies, and it’s quite clear that they do not care about the health of the human race and will do anything when it comes to the success of the products they manufacture, including taking illegal and/or immoral actions.

One of the more recent examples comes from the tobacco industry. Companies within the industry used colors, flavors, and marketing techniques to lure and entice children as potential future smokers. They actually used and applied these same strategies to sweetened beverages starting as early as 1963, according to a study conducted by researchers at UC San Francisco.

As the Sugar Scientists point out:

The study, which draws from a cache of previously secret documents from the tobacco industry that is part of the UCSF Industry Documents Library tracked the acquisition and subsequent marketing campaigns of sweetened drink brands by two leading tobacco companies: R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris. It found that as tobacco was facing increased scrutiny from health authorities, its executives transferred the same products and tactics to peddle soft drinks. The study was published in the March 2019 issue of BMJ.

“Executives in the two largest U.S.-based tobacco companies had developed colors and flavors as additives for cigarettes and used them to build major children’s beverage product lines, including Hawaiian Punch, Kool-Aid, Tang and Capri Sun,” said senior author Laura Schmidt, PhD, MSW, MPH, of the UCSF Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies. “Even after the tobacco companies sold these brands to food and beverage corporations, many of the product lines and marketing techniques designed to attract kids are still in use today.” (source)

The new papers, which are available in the UCSF Truth Tobacco Industry Documents Library, a subset of the UCSF Industry Documents Library, reveal the close and tight knit relationships between the big tobacco and big food industries. In fact, in the 60s and 70s, these companies conducted taste tests with mothers and their children to evaluate sweetness, colors and flavors for Hawaiian Punch product line extensions. The children’s preferences were prioritized.

Kool-Aid Joins Marlboro

Meanwhile, tobacco competitor Philip Morris had acquired Kool-Aid, via General Foods, in 1985. The company flipped its marketing audience from families to children, created its “Kool-Aid Man” mascot, and launched collaborations with branded toys, including Barbie and Hot Wheels. It also developed a children’s Kool-Aid loyalty program described as “our version of the Marlboro Country Store,” a cigarette incentives program. (source)

“The Wacky Wild Kool-Aid style campaign had tremendous reach and impact,” said first author Kim Nguyen, ScD, MPH, who is also with the UCSF Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies. “Lots of kids in the ’80s dreamed of getting swag from the Wacky Warehouse. What is really ‘wacky’ is that the Kool-Aid kid program was modeled after a tobacco marketing strategy designed to build allegiance with smokers.”

The tobacco giant also acquired Capri Sun and Tang, and used similar child-focused integrated marketing strategies to drive those sales.

“The industry claims that these tobacco-inspired marketing strategies are not actually targeting children and should be excluded from these industry-led agreements,” said Schmidt. “But the evidence cited in our research shows that these product lines and marketing techniques were specifically designed for and tested on children.” (source)

The UCSF Industry Documents Library was launched in 2002 as a digital portal for tobacco documents. Today, the library includes close to 15 million internal tobacco, drug, chemical and food industry documents used by scientists, policymakers, journalists and community members in their efforts to improve and protect the health of the public.

The Takeaway

At the end of the day, it’s important to recognize that government health authorities and the corporations we buy our food from, among other things, really don’t care about us. This has become extremely evident, as they are responsible for the sharp rise in numerous diseases. It’s not uncommon to see parents buy their children products similar to the ones listed above, and that’s due to mass brainwashing and the fact that we’ve been made to feel that these products are actually safe. This is why awareness is so critical.

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