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.
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.
According to the frequency of purchase and the motivation of the individual, they are distinguished 4 types of consumerism:
These are some examples of consumerism depending on the type we are talking about:
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:
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 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?
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.