Graduate student Julia presented her diploma thesis ‘Does Consumerism Make us Happy?’ to the Sustainability Jam team in Heidelberg. Her main goal is to address the problem that while we have huge abandance, we are less happy. Capitalism requires people to consume in order for the system to keep going.Julia

In a beautiful magazine, which she has designed, written and laid out herself, Julia demonstrated some of the outcomes of having too many choices.

 These include the systematic waste of misfit food (that is, wonky and misshaped fruit and vegetables that are thrown away rather than being presented to consumers), the paradox of choice (Julia found that in eight supermarkets near her home there were 51 choices of strawberry yogurt), factory food and the waste of objects.

In her research, Julia found that 99% of the things we farm or make become waste within six months.

“I am a designer and a photographer and I wanted to show my research into consumption in a way that will make people think,” she told the group. With photographs of misshapen cucumbers (“it tasted good – I ate it after I photographed it”) and junkyards piled high with rejected objects, she certainly made her point.