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Consumption is a word that derives from Latin: cosume and whose meaning is spend or destroy. Once something has been consumed, whatever the product, by consuming the act of spending or destroying to satisfy needs or desires, that "something" will cease to exist, at least with its original characteristics. Then, it will become part waste and part a satisfied need or, in the worst and most common case, a wish fulfilled.
Almost all processes of environmental destruction share the same cause: excessive and irresponsible consumption.
In the consumer society we live in, each and every one of us plays a double role. We are victims and victimizers.
Every minute from the moment we open our eyes in the morning, until we close them at night, we receive a constant bombardment from the advertising industry that encourages us to consume, that tries to generate new addictions, needs, desires. That practically forces us to consume products and services, the vast majority of which are totally unnecessary for us.
But we also allow that to happen, because although there are cases in which the options are quite difficult to find, or are uneconomical or of low quality, there are also many cases in which meekly, like lambs in a herd, we “let ourselves convince ”by the commercial.
The industrial-consumerist model has led the economies of the poorest countries to dedicate a large part of their resources, human and natural, to satisfying the enormous consumption of the most industrialized societies, even failing to satisfy the fundamental needs of their own populations. .
The consumer society is clearly environmentally unsustainable, it can no longer even stand on the inequality between north and south, which for many years served as a compensator for the pressure on natural resources exerted by excessive consumption in the richest countries . This consumption implies a constant increase in the extraction of natural resources, which are being depleted, and the consequent dumping of waste that has already filled the planet's absorption capacity for years.
It is then very clear why it would be impossible for the industrialized countries to allow an increase in the consumption capacity of the poorest. If the majority of the world's population reached a level of consumption similar to that of industrialized countries, basic resources would be exhausted for all, in a short time.
The social and environmental consequences of consumerism are visible to whoever wants to see them. Growing social inequalities, overexploitation of nature and unsustainable generation of waste.
From our place, we have the ethical and moral obligation to become responsible consumers and promote responsible consumption. To do this we must inform ourselves about the products and services we consume and become aware of the power to change the things we have as consumers.
By Ricardo Natalichio