Consumerism, Climate change & why what you buy matters

By Don Bosco Green Alliance

July 12, 2020

This week, we asked you to pledge to ‘consider what I need and buy products that will last longer and be used multiple times’. And while the environmental impact of pledging to do the same may not be obvious, it is extremely essential that we do it. Every single environmental problem is rooted in capitalism, and our current economic system is squarely at odds with the climate.

Climate change isn’t your fault. 70% of the world greenhouse gases can be traced back to about a 100 companies. And yet not doing anything may feel like giving up, and is extremely despair inducing.

“Our economic system and our planetary system are now at war. Or, more accurately, our economy is at war with many forms of life on earth, including human life. “ – Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs. Climate change

About 1.7 billion people belong to the so-called ‘Consumer Class’ and this number is increasing rapidly. Generally speaking, the consumer class is defined as being able to buy goods and services other than their basic needs. Consumerism, in its current form, is negatively affecting the planet, and as the number of consumers grow, so does their impact on the planet.

While we, as individuals do not possess the power to dismantle these systems. We do however have a choice in what we consume. Actively researching and consuming from brands that are ethical, low energy and green is the first step you should take to actively make your life greener. Often, greener products have a larger principal investment, but their costs are offset by the long term savings, and environmental benefits.

In almost every aspect of your life, there are greener options available to choose from. This includes low-flow showerheads, insulating heaters, solar panels and cookware, and even something as simple as replacing single use plastic with products with sturdier shelf lifes.

What we can do is renovate and retrofit our houses to be more energy efficient. We can certainly travel by air less often. We can seek to work at home, if possible.

What we need to do, is to put the planet first. The decisions pertaining to what we buy, what we do not buy, and from where we purchase it, should come from a place of protecting the planet, and not fulfilling our own needs.

Further References

Can consumer choices ward off the worst effects of climate change? An expert explains.

Article by Vox group highlighting the importance of making green choices

The True Cost (2015)

A documentary on the fashion industry and the associated environmental and social consequences.