Shop Until We Drop: Consumption is Killing Us
On any given day millions of people are surfing the net for products that they just must have, or that they feel they can no longer live without.
“Where can I get it cheapest, and quickest?”
We have come to crave that instant gratification. The need and desire to fill that empty void, too strong to resist, we just must have this next thing or our lives will simply be incomplete.
These feelings of inadequacy are driven into our psyche through cleverly written advertisements and strategically designed visual cues in magazines and theatres, on our television screens, side-of-the-road billboards, cars, trucks, buses, social networks, public buildings, transport systems, toilets, and even the clothes we wear. We have become walking billboards for clever corporations, and we are paying for the privilege.
Not only in a financial sense, but also with the continual degradation of the very planet we rely upon to support our fragile lives.
How many times have any of us heard or asked, "Where was this product made?" Or, "What are the working conditions of the employees that produce this?" Or, "What level of waste is generated in the production of this?" Or, "Where do the raw materials to produce this come from and what are the environmental impacts of gathering those resources?"
Next to no employee in the service sector is going to be able to give you an accurate answer to any of those questions, and very few will take the time to scour the Internet searching through pages and pages of trivial information.
No, there is just no time in our lives for those considerations; we are far too busy. There is too much work to do, we need to get back to our jobs and earn money. After all, we have water bills, power bills, phone bills, mortgage payments, school fees, insurance payments, bank fees, retirement funds, transportation costs, childcare and food to pay for, so we can live our lives and get back to work to keep paying for the ride. Of course, if we are lucky enough, we will have a small amount left over at the end of each week or month, so we can pay for some small token enjoyment.
Think about the environment or the working conditions of some kid half way around the world. What, are you nuts?
I just want to buy this great thing, take it home, keep it a few weeks, and then chuck it out with all the other crap I bought that I didn’t really need in the first place.
That’s what we are supposed to do anyway, isn’t it?
I mean, that’s pretty much how it has always worked--if it’s not broken don’t go trying to fix it.
Well what happens if it has been broken for some time now?
What happens if we actually stop long enough to really consider what it is we are doing to our planet and each other?
We are currently consuming three planet's worth of resources in order to appease our false wants.
This is our reality, right now.
There are limits. Our tiny planet has been abused for far too long, and if we don’t stop to think about what we are doing, the consequences are going to bite us and our children in the ass.
Every life-support system on this planet is in decline, we are destroying the habitats of countless species every year, and as the dominant species on this planet, we are in turn destroying ourselves.
We are clear-cutting rainforests, overfishing oceans, polluting waterways, degrading the very soil we grow our food in and filling the air with toxins, and for what?
The more time we spend thinking about it, the less sense it makes.
We can’t eat money, and we can’t buy another Earth.
We may want to reconsider what it is we are doing, before it’s too late.