Is the problem overpopulation or overconsumption?
When it comes to shopping sprees, they are always fun. We get fascinated by everything new in the mall all the time without realizing why we buy so many things like clothing, electronic devices, shoes, cosmetics, furniture, cars, etc. Is it to prove our stylishness, to establish our social standing or just for fun? I know that once you get into something, you’d never be able to collect enough to satisfy you. Also, the marketing industry ensures that consumers will not be hesitant. However, this results in dumping stuff in landfills and destined for incineration.
I consider myself to be someone who loves clothing and has a good sense of style. I also recommend clothes to my mother and sister. I used to save my money for every piece of clothing I liked, especially when I was young, and would wait until I had enough money to buy them. However, since my parents were not rich, I always dreamed of having a lot of clothes, shoes, and accessories, having a smartphone for my teenage years, and many more as I expected. It was until one day that I was reading some articles on the issue of too many things being produced and the growing buying power of consumers, and the negative impacts on the environment, human rights, and human exposure to hazardous substances. I was completely shocked and realized many things behind me. Their job in the business is to keep the company alive, to gain more revenue and money, and to attract consumers to buy more by using appealing tactics. Basically, it’s a play repeatedly on the track.
Today, we can learn from studies whether our habits and behaviors are appropriate and healthy thanks to the information revolution.
So, What Does Overconsumption Exactly Mean?
Overconsumption refers to the act of using resources faster than the ecosystem can replenish them. Continuing with overconsumption will soon lead to environmental degradation and ultimately the loss of resources. (Kleiderly, 2020)
Does Overconsumption Link to Overpopulation?
The effect of overconsumption might be related to population growth. Worldometers reported that since the peak of 2% in 1970, the world population has declined to 1.05% by 2020 (Worldometers). With a developed economy and society, more people tend not to want children to be born and raised because of financial strain.
There’s one factor that contributes to overconsumption, and that’s our lifestyle. The more stuff we want and purchase, the greater our lifestyle’s demand. Therefore, mass quantities of stuff are produced regardless of the resources used or pollution released. Fossil fuel extraction and consumption are on the rise, leaving thousands of environmental footprints on earth that, as a result of our actions, make the ecosystem more and more vulnerable.
The Psychology Behind Consumption
Having new stuff brings us happiness, but this feeling is short-lived. A study of US standards of living between 1918 and 1988 found that as a family’s income grows, they tend to expand their wants and needs, and adopt the spending patterns of wealthy families. (Brown, 2018)
Rachel Sherman’s research also clarified that consumption is closely related to human emotions and well-being. One of the information listed is that luxury goods do not develop our personal well-being, and they can even make us miserable. When people experience social discontent and anxiety, they tend to purchase more in order to maintain their social status. They thus engage in materialism and consumerism more to maintain their social status and fulfil their materialistic desires (Brown, 2018). It’s like imagining you are part of the rat race of consumption, displaying your wealth through a host of luxury items, and you will have more in the future. As the rat running in the whHere’s How To Draw A Line With Consumptioneel might not be able to get out of it until someone comes and advises it, so do you!
Capitalism is another fact connected to the act of consuming too much. The consumer-based model of capitalism is what keeps capitalism alive. A market consists of thousands of companies producing large amounts of goods and groceries (Kleiderly, 2020). Consumption, distribution, consumption, disposal, and back to extraction create never-ending choices for consumers and a cycle of extraction, production, distribution, consumption, disposal, and back to extraction. Further, businesses will seek out cheaper raw materials and labour to meet consumer demand. I can think of several industries that follow the exact model, like fashion, electronic products and home appliances, automobiles, etc. The more natural resources are unethically and uncontrollably exploited, the more natural disasters will occur. Deforestation, air and water pollution, famine, global warming, plastic pollution, and many more to come.
With that in mind, I stay away from marketing tricks designed to attract more consumers toward products they sell. Not that I am accusing all corporations of doing unsafe work to the environment, but that we need to balance business growth, the environment, and consumer purchasing behavior. As people become more conscious of their purchasing habits, they will seek out businesses with a commitment to the environment. Once consumers’ demands are oriented toward the environment, it’s a given that corporations will meet their demands in an environmentally sensitive manner. Let’s aim for #sustainableliving.