Ecological Economics and Consumerism

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Careless Consumerism

How much more should we get engrossed in blind consumerism before we take a second to realize its harmful effect on planet Earth, our universal home? Nowadays, with developing technology and growing globalization, all areas of the Earth are brought closer together; however it is only a matter of time before we see it falling apart due to excessive and harmful consumerism. According to the English Oxford Dictionary, the modern meaning of the term “consumerism” is “emphasis on or preoccupation with the acquisition of consumer goods”.

The world’s population is indeed growing year after year, thus with the birth of every new child new needs must be satisfied which triggers an increase in the purchase of goods and services in ever-greater amounts. Nonetheless, consumerism includes individuals who would spend a large amount of money to maintain a rather materialistic status and to simply keep up with the Jonesses. Therefore consumerism exceeds the limits of satisfying one’s needs and is increasingly focusing on splurging luxury and extravagant feasts. The excesses of the consumerist societies could indeed harm the environment, contribute to global warming and deplete resources at a higher rate than other societies. As a matter of fact, according to the Carbon Trust, 42% of the average carbon footprint is made up of recreation, leisure, clothing and food which nowadays require heavy industrialization. Likewise, other ecological economists such as Herman Daly and Tim Jackson recognize the inherent conflict between consumerism and ecological degradation. Furthermore, at the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America, William Rees of the University of British Columbia said that human society is in a “global overshoot”, which can unfortunately jeopardize the sustainability of all resources. Rees confirmed that currently, 85 countries are exceeding their domestic bio-capacities. Consequently, they compensate for their deficiency by using...
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