A family catches Mardi Gras beads during the Krewe of Thoth parade down St. Charles Avenue in 2000.
Each Mardi Gras, 25 million pounds of beads hit the streets of New Orleans. One researcher went to the Chinese factories that make them – and spoke to the workers who believe the beads will be given to royalty.
Still marching …
Gareth Fuller PA Wire/PA Images
You may not be free but buying lots of stuff can create the illusion that you are.
Which objects would you choose to tell the story of your life?
Back in 1663, it was all about staff getting the day off, now it's all about boosting the coffers of the major stores.
Stores are engaged in an arms race to make online shopping less of an impersonal chore.
Modesty in your spending (and half an eye on the future) could make you very cheerful indeed.
REI's 'Opt Outside' campaign makes a virtue of shunning Black Friday and hiking instead of shopping. But while outdoor retailers preach sustainability, they still fuel our consuming habits.
Viral marketing in the making.
John Lewis' Christmas ad is highly anticipated and guaranteed to get Britain spending.
People are buying more and more things. But does that make them more contented?
Michal Jastrzebski / shutterstock.com
As a remedy to rampant consumerism and the throwaway culture of fast-fashion, a few clothing brands actively encourage their customers to buy less.
Getting around on a bike, a (mostly) fun way to travel green.
Bike riding image from www.shutterstock.com
Luxury holidays aren't just a dent in your bank balance – they're also doing untold harm to the environment. But you can have a good, green holiday.
Fashion weeks are becoming less about fashion cliques, and opening up to the masses.
Supporting an infant industry.
EPA/HOW HWEE YOUNG
A new industry is being created under President Xi Jinping. Meet the two men making it happen.
olenalavrova / shutterstock
Microplastics go largely unseen but are a scourge of the oceans. Filmmaker Jo Ruxton answers questions about the challenge of filming it.
Researchers calculate whether we're using less materials, or whether we're just shipping it in from abroad.
A man you can trust?
Perhaps surprisingly, men spend more money after being romantically rejected while women do the opposite.
Christmas can be a drag for the planet, let’s lighten the load.
Many of us are concerned about just want to get through it. But the consumer madness of late December is the perfect time to ponder the consequences of our habits and excesses.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
How the best brands tap into the spirit of the season.
One in the eye for John Lewis.
The retailer's emblematic ad should have stuck their grandad in a rocket and blasted him straight to party central.
Guiyu, China: where electronic goods go to die.
Splitting the Goods and Services Tax in two, and taxing goods at a higher rate, would help to reflect the extra environmental damage done by products that are bought and later thrown in the rubbish.