The Trend of Overconsumption and its Impact
Global development and affluence have bred a culture that promotes the narrative of abundance and replaceability. The population metrics ballooned in the last millennium and has been growing ever since and with that our insatiable appetite as a race has been draining our planet of its life force. Increased demand has a cascading effect on our environment with exploitation and growing emissions. With the lack of knowledge and awareness about the problems plaguing our world all efforts to move to sustainability fall short of the required goal. The real problem does not only lie with our production process but also with our demand.
When the use of resources has exceeded the sustainable capacity of the ecosystem is known as overconsumption. It might be said that the issue of overconsumption arose due to the issue of overpopulation. Even though these issues are co-extensive they are very distinct from each other. The issue of overconsumption is not driven by the sheer number of people but by the ingrained culture of capitalism. The rate of increase in the global population has been decreasing by 2% every year with family planning, education and modernisation but the issue of overconsumption shows no sign of diminishing anytime soon. Overconsumption is only driven by our lifestyle choices and our consumption decisions.
Historically agricultural societies focused more on conservation but with the dawn of the industrial revolution and increasing, disposable income countries worldwide increased their consumption. The desire to display your status and social standing through commodities and spending has given rise to the problem of overconsumption. Online shopping and the facilitation of easy purchasing across the globe has become a boon and a curse.
The fast fashion industry is the greatest example of overconsumption as they promote their consumers to buy easily replaceable clothes with changing trends. This not only negatively impacts the rising global temperatures but the microplastic fibres found in most modern clothes pollute our water sources and endanger marine life. The natural resources on our planet are limited but people are exploiting most of them for profit The extraction and consumption of non-renewable resources by oil drilling, fracking and mining lead to the emission of greenhouse gases that further increase the global temperature endangering at-risk ecosystems and marginalized people. The negative impacts are felt differently by different social strata, with affluent people piling on the backs of vulnerable and disadvantaged people.
Every consumer decision has the power to change the world so think before you buy and shop more mindfully. The earth has limited resources and it can only sustain us if we regulate our choices and requirements. The burden to protect our ecosystems and wildlife lies on us as their exploiters. Swift and coordinated action combined with awareness and education is the key to solving the issue of overconsumption.
Sources & References