I need to go to the mall. I need a trendy pair of boots. I need a different iPhone case. I need a newer car. I need a bigger house.
We are surrounded by needs. We live in an age of rampant and harmful consumerism. But what are needs? If you really think about it… I guarantee you don’t actually need half of the stuff you own. So what is a need? One definition explains, “urgent want, as of something requisite (indispensable).”
So… is everything you own (or need) indispensable? I am almost positive some, if not most, of what you own is NOT indispensable. So perhaps we should stop using the word “need.” In place we should use the word want. I want to go to the mall. I want a trendy pair of boots. I want a different iPhone case. I want a newer car. I want a bigger house. Maybe then we would slowly realize that our wants are selfish. That they really aren’t needs at all.
I think reducing consumerism plays a vital role in sustainability. If we as a society began buying less, then there would be less waste. Less “stuff” going to the landfill. Less stuff cluttering and poisoning the environment.
What’s even better is not only just reducing consumerism, but also going past it. What if we paired “buying smart” with reducing consumerism. What I mean by “buying smart” can be a number of things. It looks like: purchasing locally, supporting small businesses and farmers, being educated on how the clothes you wear are being manufactured and looking for that transparency.
The good thing about consumerism is that it is completely comprised of us… the consumers. Therefore, we have the power and control to redefine consumerism. To leave the wasteful habits of our predecessors behind us and create new patterns in purchasing.
This makes me wonder that perhaps in 100 years, the people of 2115 will look back and remember our era as the age of destructive consumerism. Maybe by then all synthetic materials will be eliminated. Maybe everything will return to 100% raw and natural materials. Maybe cars won’t exist anymore and the only food you eat is what is in your garden or your neighbors. People often think that the future will hold the ultimate technology: flying cars and teleportation. But I wonder if we will return to the natural way of life without technology. Who knows? What we do know is that we don’t have to wait 100 years to watch what happens to consumerism. We can start changing it now.