CONSUMERISM: what is it, types, examples and consequences - Summary!

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We are used to hearing in private and public spheres various stories about our consumer tendencies, in fact the media and the scientific field speak of us as a consumer society. But do we know what consumerism is? What's wrong with consumerism? How does consumerism affect the environment?

If you want to clarify your doubts, we invite you to read this article by Ecologist Verde, where we talk about what is consumerism, its types, examples and consequences of this, as well as some alternatives to promote responsible consumption.

What is consumerism and its causes

The human being has certain needs that he has to satisfy and that are translated into the consumption of goods and services provided by nature. The responsible consumption of resources constitutes the basis of our survival and also that of the rest of the biocenosis or living beings.

In this sense, consumption is not bad and could even be viewed as the set of relationships that exist and occur in an ecosystem between living beings and their environment. However, when this supply of food, energy or goods becomes excessive, we are facing a irresponsible consumption of resources and we talk about consumerism. This would then be the definition of consumerism.

The consumer model It arises as a strategy to overcome the economy during the crisis caused by the First World War and is based on a pattern of mass production-consumption and wastefulness. Developed during the 20th century, consumerism has been driven by: capitalism, globalization, the association of consumption with success and the satisfaction of desires, rather than needs, and advertising as a social system of aspirations.

Consequently there are many problems of consumerism in today's society. Later we will address the relationship between consumption and its effects on the environment.

Types of consumerism

According to the frequency of purchase and the motivation of the individual, they are distinguished 4 types of consumerism:

  • Habitual consumerism.
  • Occasional consumerism.
  • Consumerism by experimentation.
  • Compulsive consumerism

Examples of consumerism

These are some examples of consumerism depending on the type we are talking about:

  • To start with, how examples of habitual consumerism we find the food and drink that we buy on a daily basis.
  • On another plane, we carry out a occasional consumerism when we make a purchase that is unusual in our daily routine. For example, we buy plane tickets, train tickets, to go on vacation.
  • Parallel, we consume to experience new products that go on the market: virtual reality video games or the latest model of electric vehicle.
  • Finally, the compulsive consumerism habits have a great influence from advertising. For example, we can see an advertisement about a garment that generates the need to buy it. It also highlights the purchase of addictive products (tobacco, alcoholic beverages).

Consequences of consumerism on the environment

The relationship between consumerism and environment it is actually destructive. Techniques like fracking to obtain fossil fuels; blasting for mining and obtaining jewelry; the mechanization of agriculture and the use of chemicals to increase productivity; and the use of harmful fishing gear and the industrialization of the sector to maximize the volume of fish caught are examples of activities that negatively impact the environment.

The consequences of consumerism are numerous:

  • First of all, it is worth highlighting the degradation, destruction and fragmentation of the territory.
  • This accompanies the loss of biodiversity and an increase in the rate of extinction of animal and plant species.
  • The worsening of the quality of natural resources (soil, water, air pollution), but also of those that make up the basis of our diet.
  • Finally, it is worth mentioning the transformation of ecosystems, increasingly anthropized.

It is also important to bear in mind that consumerism generates discrimination and social biases that enhance economic polarization and, therefore, poverty which, as numerous studies point out, also contributes to the deterioration of the environment.

Consumerism solutions

Consumerism is contrary to sustainable developmentTherefore, to combat it, it is important to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and restructure human activities based on them. For example, in line with the first SDG "End of poverty", as a solution to consumerism appears the redistribution of wealth and consumption.

At the individual level,what we can do to avoid consumerism or irresponsible consumption?

  • On the one hand, apply the rule of the 3Rs of ecology with which we can implement the reduction of products we consume, their reuse and recycling. An example is the purchase of second-hand objects, which is gaining special relevance in the market.
  • Buy products that are strictly necessary, avoiding, for example, food waste.
  • Bet on local commerce, for those products that have an ecological or zero emissions certificate, such as highly energy efficient appliances.

However, the most important thing is to acquire awareness of what our true needs are, without focusing individual satisfaction and happiness on owning things, and how our actions have an impact on the environment and health.

After knowing all this about consumerism, we encourage you to read about What is responsible consumption and What is sustainable development.

If you want to read more articles similar to Consumerism: what is it, types, examples and consequences, we recommend that you enter our category of Other ecology.

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