Environmentalism vs Consumerism

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Ecology is not very friendly to consumerism, no doubt. However, in addition to the typical consumer fever, a real drama for the planet, there are green consumption practices and supposedly eco-friendly lifestyles that also go into against sustainability.

Although in practice the ecological industry is immersed in the social and cultural system that promote ecologicalIn this post, of course, we are going to separate the concepts of "ecology" and "consumerism" to also compare them from an antagonistic approach.

Consume consumes the planet

Pure and simple consumerism, that habit so ingrained that it is even part of our cultural identity, of our most daily habits, desires and dreams, it is a real nightmare for the environment. The bill, sooner or later, we all end up paying, and some much more than others.

If the population does not stop increasing, and the same happens with the consumer lifestyle, -the so-called welfare society for the a large part of the citizenryRegardless of a greater or lesser welfare state- to which emerging and developing countries aspire, the resources, which are limited, have their days numbered.

The focus of a comfortable life which corresponds to a consumer lifestyle, the prevailing in capitalist societies, equates consumption to the satisfaction of needs and something else: the satisfaction of the constant whims of consumers.

Industrial machinery offers products and services that create artificial needs and, through marketing, it is possible to generate new consumption habits that lead us to a sovereign waste at all levels, economic and resource. On the other hand, unprecedented in the history of humanity and with an exponential increase.

This generates, in turn, an unacceptable environmental impact for the environment, and its manifestations are of the most varied, from deforestation and what this implies for flora and fauna to, for example, atmospheric, soil or aquatic pollution and the consequences related to it, including the deterioration of ecosystems, food security problems or the advance of climate change itself.

Our way of livingThat living fast immersed in consumption habits that do not know the brake also splashes on the products and services of the so-called ecological.

Being an eco-responsible consumer, therefore, does not mean substituting conventional products for green ones, within the same consumption scheme. On the contrary, the really genuine green customs ask to follow the golden rule of ecology, that triple r of reducing, reusing and recycling.

A simple lifestyle

And buying green products of any kind driven by compulsive buying? Sometimes, in addition, since the ecological is in fashion, unnecessary purchases are made as a snobbish demonstration of products that are generally exclusive.

We are in the same. And it is that the pull that green products have is causing us to fall into an expense not always compatible with sustainability.

While it is true that an ecological product will always fit better within a green lifestyle, buying more than is really necessary can never be classified as ecological, no matter how eco-friendly the products or services we buy or hire are.

The solution to these problems? Go to the essence of things. Environmentalism requires a different social model and, on an individual level, a change of mentality that very well sums up the trend known as downshifting, an alternative to materialistic life, full of things but also unsatisfactory.

Basically, it seeks a rethinking of the way of living to achieve a better balance between work and leisure and be more respectful with the environment.

Ecological consumption

Although it is hard to believe, living comfortably is not synonymous with consumerism. On the contrary, having more and more can create a diffuse anxiety that accompanies us night and day.

The simple life It allows us to focus on what matters most to us, to lead a life in harmony with nature and to be more true to ourselves. Being versus having a greener life versus outrageous consumerism.

Sharing economy, consumer groups, local organic food production or ecovillages, on the other hand, are perfect settings for a downshifter. Launching into it, yes, it is more complicated than it seems. Swimming against the current was never easyBut it is also true that now, more than ever, social movements are underway which, despite being incipient, are a great opportunity for those who wish to join them.

Or, in any case, without the need to bet on extreme changes, only by being aware of it, it is also possible to do our bit to achieve big changes. Because ecology is everyone's business.


We will do the environment a disserviceFor example, if we buy a bicycle with a bamboo frame instead of continuing to use ours, in perfect conditions of use.

Nor would it make sense to get on a plane and travel half the world to go to a green hotel, as the carbon footprint of transport has made the idea of green accommodation absurd.

Or, in the field of food, if we do not carry out good practices when preserving food, the result will be very poor at environmental level. Our green gesture will be a wanting and not being able or, simply, never having wanted.

Image from section 2

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