Guest Post By: Victoria Ward
Consumerism is a topic that has gained popularity over the last several years. With the explosion of technology and online marketing, people are tricked into thinking they never have enough stuff.
This view tends to be most common in western culture and in first world countries. In the United States, many people fall into the trap of consumerism and are spending beyond their means.
Not only does this have a negative impact on people’s finances, but it also has a negative impact on our world and environment. Now more than ever it’s time for us as the consumers to evaluate our habits and see where we need to change.
Our need for consumption results in more and more waste. This is damaging to our ecosystem and will ultimately harm us if not reduced or stopped. Our consumption of frivolous products is destroying the planet.
Fast Food Consumerism
Fast food is another item that falls under the umbrella of consumerism. By having fast foods, it encourages overeating processed and unhealthy foods.
Not only are the fast food industries unethical in their treatment of livestock, but the amount of resources needed in order to maintain this model is destructive to the farmland. This method of production gravitates so far away from traditional farming methods.
Traditional methods of crop and livestock production are better for the environment and prevent over-usage of one resource. There is something that is inherently beneficial about growing crops in their season.
Most fast food chains are not concerned with the health and wellness of the consumer. This leads to poor lifestyle choices and chronic disease. The food does taste good, but its flavor comes from excessive fat and salt. This leads to overeating and just for the short-term satisfaction of having something that tastes good.
Consumerism in Fashion
Much like with fast food, we have fast fashion. You have probably seen the stores that are getting new products weekly, sometimes as frequently as every day. While it might be nice to stay on top of the latest trends, this idea of fast fashion is directly contributing to waste, environmental hazards, and abusive working conditions.
Fast fashion is designed to be just that: fast. The working conditions of the people who are sewing the clothes are often unsafe and even abusive. The workers are undervalued and, in most cases, underpaid. Most do not have other options for work in order to be able to provide for their families.
In addition to the negative working conditions, the amount of clothing the workers have to produce is growing exponentially. With clothing stores wanting to bring the consumer more and more options, the companies neglect to care about the environmental impact. Most people do not know that the fashion industry is second to oil in terms of pollution.
Consider what you consume on a daily basis. Are you eating fast food regularly? Buying new products and technology? Are you purchasing brand new clothes constantly?
You have the power to make a change and it starts by reducing consumption. Buying local foods and supporting farmers in your area is a great way to reduce food consumption. Not throwing away leftovers and eating out less are other practical ways to reduce your consumption of fast foods.
Shopping secondhand for clothing is one of the best ways to avoid contributing to the fast fashion industry. People need to be thinking about where their clothes go after they are thrown away. If you want to buy new clothes, consider visiting a local thrift shop. Look into the brands you are buying and see if they have environmentally conscious practices.
By: Victoria Ward for www.sustainabilityactive.com