Is consumerism just another fancy word for shopping? Who is to say that one person’s ecological footprint from consuming has no effect on the planet? An ecological footprint, also known as a carbon footprint, is the scientific measure of one’s consumption and the effect of their expenditure to the planet earth (Heddings & Frazier, 2009). Every small act of consumption is a connection to a larger picture. As the population grows, so does the amount of consumption. Many broad differences between consumerism and sustainability exist. Depending on one’s perception of capitalism, which is the right of every being to acquire and have capital, be it money or tangible possessions. What one might consider a necessity, another might see as needless and wasteful. The desire for a better life often influences consumerism. While everyone needs to consume, unnecessary consumerism is damaging the planet by overflowing the landfills, creating higher greenhouse gasses with pollution, and causing global warming.
Finally, although every being needs to consume to some extent, consumerism in an excess of what is primarily for sustainability, is damaging the planet with air pollution and overflowing landfills. An interesting fact is there are places in Costa Rica that currently use the waste-to-energy system [ (Docksai, 2009) ]. Transported excrements from people and animals are broken down with enzymes and bacteria to form a natural gas used for energy in the villages [ (Docksai, 2009) ]. The same concept can be applied to the garbage from municipal solid waste. To reduce ones ecological footprint, there are small changes everyone can implement to make the difference.