Modern consumerism is not sustainable!
We are consumers by nature, it has been like that since the dawn of time. Nothing new about that! However, the way we do it today is destroying our planet - literally! The sad fact is that a great number of people don’t even realize there is a problem and how our overconsumption actually affects the world we live in.
Scrolling down your instagram feed, watching tv, youtube videos or going out somewhere, there is a good chance you saw a whole bunch of advertising. It seems like anywhere we are and whatever we do, there is somebody telling us to buy something. Marketing has become so sophisticated and successful that it has raised consumption to whole new level.
We are currently consuming at a much higher rate than our planet is able to replenish. This is mostly referred to the developed countries with the US being on top of the list. A few facts that show how absurd US consumption is:
- Americans make 5% of the world's population, but consume 24% of the world's energy.
- We eat 815 billion calories of food each day - roughly 200 billion more than needed and enough to feed 80 million people.
- It is estimated that the average American generates 52 tons of garbage by age 75.
This way of consuming is a burden on all 3 pillars of sustainability:
- It causes global inequality and widens the gap between “the rich and the poor”.
- It affects individuals as it increases rates of obesity which later leads to cultural and social problems.
- It is a great threat to the environment as it causes pollution, resources depletion and contributes to high greenhouse gases emission.
If we don’t change the way we consume soon we will reach the point of no return!
The impact of our shopping habits
Everything we do has an impact on the environment, but not many consumers stop to think about the effects of their habits! We consume, our Planet pays. From the natural resources used for production, shipping emissions, to wasteful plastic packaging it’s all taking its toll. Consumption is within us, within our culture and by producing and selling we are achieving economic growth. The more we produce and sell, the more we grow! The irony of it, right?
The production, processing and consumption of the goods takes natural resources like wood, water and fossil fuels. It then takes factories and other processing facilities which are causing pollution and creating toxic by-products. The final product needs to be shipped to distributors and retailers before it gets to the end consumer, creating an enormous carbon footprint, air and water pollution. Once it reaches the end consumer and serves its purpose, the final product is being thrown away and ending up in landfills. And then, with all this, there is plastic - the everlasting waste that is wandering in our rivers, oceans and landfills, endangering marine and wildlife. It’s obvious, something has to change!
There is a new player in town!
Lately, there is a new type of shoppers on the rise that are trying to change things - the conscious consumers. They are more aware of the reality that each and every purchase has a certain impact. Shoppers that are constantly asking questions before making a decision to buy something. What is the impact of this product? Where was it made and what kind of materials/ingredients were used to make it? What is the social and environmental responsibility of the company that made it? They choose products and companies that can answer these questions with full transparency. The others get “punished” for the lack of it.
Conscious consumer votes with his dollar, choosing ethical products and companies that are driving the positive social, economic and environmental impact. This way of shopping is creating a demand for more responsibility and only the brands that recognize it will get their support.
How to be a conscious consumer?
There are many ways where you can change your habits and do your part in making the world a better place:
- Educate yourself! That way you will know what is a good choice to make.
- Change your mindset and adopt a more minimalist lifestyle. Start by reducing your buying urge and get only what you really need. What will help you with that is to try to reuse and repurpose what you already have.
- Buy locally as much as you can. This way you are helping your local community grow, creating jobs for the local workforce.
- Buy eco-friendly products that are made with earth-friendly materials/ingredients, ethically made in a safe working environment where workers make a fair living wage.
- Reduce single-use plastic and choose plastic-free reusable alternatives.
- Buy from conscious brands that are fully transparent with how they do business and put our planet in the first place. Choose the ones that backup their green claims with actions and that are giving back to their communities.
- When buying, look for third party certificates like: Fair Trade, USDA Organic, Leaping Bunny, Certified B-Corp, Oeko-Tex Certified, etc… These certificates are confirmations of a company’s claim for social, economic and environmental responsibilities.
It is time to change the way we shop!
CONSCIOUS SHOPPING STARTS HERE