Because without consumers using everything they can possibly get their hands on to improve their day-to-day lives, there would be no need to worry. We consume on a level the planet has never experienced. And consumption levels aren’t going down any time soon. Two thirds of the world is just trying to get by with the hope that someday they may share in the luxuries of the first world economies. Housing, iPhones, automobiles, food, electricity, Disneyland… imagine that!
Industry tends to be the target, blamed (at times justifiably) for the perceived environmental impacts of the products they produce. But really, supply and demand drives everything. The same industries that are often targeted as villains are the ones that offer us the amazing technologies and services that allow us to live the way we do. It’s everywhere around you. And the more luxuries you enjoy in our throw-away society, the larger your impact on the environmental issues that dominate the world agenda.
What we need is a period of self-reflection. To really look at our impact on the world. What do you have, what do you actually need and what would you give up?
- Are you willing to keep your current smartphone more than 2 years rather than upgrading it when the latest tech comes out?
- Are you willing to take the bus and get rid of your car?
- Are you willing to skip this winter’s tropical vacation?
- Are you willing to skip esting foods that cannot be produced in your area (no fruit and veggies this winter)?
- Are you willing to stop eating meat?
- Are you willing to tell the developing world they cannot aspire to have what the West has had for generations?
- Are you actually aware of how all the stuff you have, need and use affects the environment?
- Are you willing to pay more for everything green and clean?
- Are you willing to lose a job during the transition?
- Are you willing to change, or should we focus on how to live in a different world going forward?