Have you ever thought about the effects of consumerism on the environment? With Black Friday just one week away, we thought it would be a great time to think about the impact of our shopping habits. But, before we get started on the environmental risks of mass consumption, let’s talk about Black Friday and why we need to reject it.
What’s Black Friday Anyway?
So Black Friday refers to the day following Thanksgiving in America. Since 1952, this day has been seen by many in the country as the day where all Christmas shopping starts. However, the term Black Friday was coined in the early 2000s, and today, it has spread beyond just America, where people in Canada, the UK, and many other countries also take part. This has resulted in sales and promotions to encourage consumers to join in the shopping. In response, there are line-ups upon line-ups outside of shops and malls.
The Effects of Consumerism on the Environment
Have you ever thought about whether your shopping habits are destroying the planet? As the demand for goods goes up, so does the need to make them. Unfortunately, as GreenTumble outlines, “this leads to more pollutant emissions, increased land-use and deforestation, and accelerated climate change.”
This impacts the planet in many ways. It uses up land and natural resources, creates pollution, risks and harms human and animal life, and adds to our waste problem. “Waste disposal is becoming a problem worldwide, and our oceans are slowly but surely becoming a giant waste disposal pit.”
An event such as Black Friday celebrates fast fashion, an industry that is one of the most pollutant industries, second only to oil. Cheap-made clothes bought in mass are unhealthy, unethical and damaging to the environment. If you want to learn more about the fashion industry and the steps you can take to make better choices, check out our Guide to Ethical Fashion.
How Can I be a Responsible Consumer?
Now that you’re a bit more familiar with the effects of consumerism on the environment, the question is, how do we make changes. Here are simple tips to help you make a better choice:
- First things first: don’t let shopping define your holidays. Instead, focus on family, good food and downtime. Who said the holidays have to be centred on shopping?
- Learn to enjoy experiences over ‘things.’ Instead of spending hours in a shopping mall, go and enjoy a walk in the woods. How about a nice meal with a friend?
- Send a message to brands and companies. When we demand less, they make less. When we require quality, they provide quality. Remember, we vote with our money.
- Buy less, buy better. Always choose quality over quantity.
- Demand ethics from companies. Make sure you support companies and brands that care about the planet and the people who live in it.
The effects of consumerism on the environment are dire. They harm the planet and all of us living on it. If we want a better world, we have to do our part. Our shopping habits have a lot to do with the world we actively create and promote. So, practice your right as a consumer. Recognize your power and demand for a better and more sustainable world.