Can we change the culture of consumerism?

Source: http://www.globalissues.org

From the chart above, it is obvious that some can definitely reduce their consumption. The problem we can see here is not only the size of population that contributes to environmental damage, but the way some people are living. This lifestyle of consuming much more than we need is not a sustainable way of living. A large part of that is consumerism.

Consumerism is an idealogy that promotes the attainment of material goods. Our society prominently holds this ideal as being able to consume a large quantity of goods is one of the main measures of success.

Source: www.hotelindigobirmingham.co.uk
Source: www.hotelindigobirmingham.co.uk

However, high consumption is damaging to the environment. Resources are used up to make and transport goods, production of waste from industries and households increase, pollutants are released into the atmosphere and a plethora of other environmentally damaging things occur as a result of consumerism.

Overconsumption leads to excessive waste Source:www.transatlanticacademy.org
Overconsumption leads to excessive waste
Source:www.transatlanticacademy.org
Industrial pollution as a result of consumer demand Source: gabrielsmessage.wordpress.com
Industrial pollution as a result of consumer demand
Source: gabrielsmessage.wordpress.com
Toxic waste from factory Source: postconflict.unep.ch
Toxic waste from factory
Source: postconflict.unep.ch

Therefore, a critical change in lifestyle is needed to save the earth. But trying to change a lifestyle is no easy task.

One way we can tackle this is through education. Information about threats and consequences of people’s current behaviour need to be brought across to the public. The Anticonsumerism Campaign aims to do just this by spreading the message to the public and attract attention of media.

Another way is ‘subvertising’ which is the practice of changing adverts to make them imply a different message than the original. Adbusters is one of the famous organisations who have successfully carried out this practice.

A spoof ad by AdBusters Source: https://www.adbusters.org
A spoof ad by AdBusters
Source: https://www.adbusters.org
Spoof ad by AdBusters Source: Adbusters.org
Spoof ad by AdBusters Source: Adbusters.org

 

Spoof ad of McDonald's by AdBusters Source: www.adbusters.org
Spoof ad of McDonald’s by AdBusters
Source: www.adbusters.org

Here is a video showing how advertising is the main trigger for developing this culture of consumerism.

 

Certainly, the main thing we have to change is people’s behaviour in regards to consumption. Through  the use of what we’ve learnt in psychology, strategies can be implemented to promote a more positive change.

 

 

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