by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
Consumption can cause child labor, environmental pollution and social inequality and many more ills to boot.
The way consumption is running rampant and we are being encouraged to consume more and more is a recipe for disaster on many levels, not at least on the environmental one.
The governments keep telling us all, however, that we must consumer more in order to grow the economy and to raise living standard. I do not know on which planet they are living but, apparently, it cannot be this one or they just simply do not live in the real world at all.
Consumption and the perpetual growth economy are something that just does not for a healthy Planet and a healthy population make. There is exploitation of the Planet and exploitation to workers that all make those goods cheap and those goods, alas, are mainly also made in such a way as to break down – about a day or so after the warranty has expired – forcing us to buy new, as they, in the main, also are designed and made in such a way that repair is not an option. Perpetual growth on a finite Planet such as the Earth is is not possible but it is the only way the powers-that-be seem to be able to think and the only way capital can make more and more profit.
The only way we can change things, and we can do it, it to refuse to be part of it, or, at least, reduce the part we have in it by reducing our consumption understanding that so much that we do buy believing that we need this or that are but wants and not needs. No one needs a new cellphone or a new computer or whatever simply because there is a new model out. And the same goes for fashion and everything else. You may need clothes but you do not need fashion.
But that route is not one that people wish to travel as such a refusal to partake in consumerism is seen by many of our peers as a sign of not being able to afford things rather than of a voluntary step of trying to tread a little lighter on the Planet and help conserve its resources. Neither is it a popular step with the governments who are only interested in GDP and thus in growing the economy and, as did the UK government a while back, liken those that refuse to partake in this madness to “domestic terrorists”.
But fact is that we have to get out of this hamster wheel and back to normality of only buying what we really need and maybe so luxuries only every now and then and that means that as long as something works it does not get replaced. And if it can be repaired and that is cost-effective then it is repaired rather than a new one purchased.
We all have to change our attitude and approach to things and get off the bandwagon of consumption for the sake of it if we want to continue to live on this Planet and have it support us.
If we continue to use up the resources of the Earth, both non-renewable ones, such as oil, gas, coal, and minerals, as well as the renewable ones, and get a handle on the pollution of all kinds then there is, really, no future for the human race.
It is time to get out of the rut and do things differently and that may mean not buying new and also reusing what we have, including items of waste that we generate and that have a reuse and upcycling potential, and to make things ourselves (again).