Consumerism and the Environment

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Consumerism and the Effect on the Environment
Tammi Bradbury

Consumerism and the Effect on the Environment

Consumerism is a concept that was created before the Great Depression, which, by definition, means “the concept that an ever-expanding consumption of goods is advantageous to the economy; the fact or practice of an increasing consumption of goods”. In other words, consumerism has meant the transformation of citizens into shoppers. In fact, after the tragedy of 9/11, we were not asked to sacrifice or work hard in order to defeat terrorism, we were asked to go shopping. (Barber, 2008) Buying more products may help the economy but it is not good for the environment. Statistics show that the act of consumerism has negatively affected the environment and made a sustainable future very difficult. With the threat of overpopulation and the increased consumption of food and natural resources, our environment may not be able to sustain future generations.

In looking at the statistics of consumption in America over the years, we have doubled or tripled our consumption of food and natural resources in the last 50 years. One of the root causes of our environmental problems is hyper-consumption. We simply buy too much of what we don’t need and often even what we really don’t want. According to Globalissues.org “half of the world lives on less that $2 a day” and WorldWatch.org or World Watch Institute states “12% of the world’s population lives in North America and Western Europe and accounts for 60% of private consumption spending”. The statistics of consumption in America is disturbing. Putting the consumption of food aside, global oil production is currently about 81 million barrels a day and is predicted to fall to 39 million barrels a day by 2030 due to diminishing resources. (Seager, 2007) In 50 years and as these resources doubled in consumption, carbon dioxide levels increased over 20%, which is very harmful to our environment and the ozone....
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