Consumerism hurts not just your wallet

Kiran Singh and Anthony Alegrete

Consumerism is a pillar of American society, and that’s something no one can deny (ask Darnell, if you don’t believe us). However, to what extent will we let consumerism dictate our ability to think ahead? Consumerism is the wheel by which the cart of economy travels. Without it, our economy would screech to a halt on the road of prosperity.
Yet, think about your latest trip to the grocery store. Did you research the companies producing your favorite chocolate-hazelnut spread? Have you considered where the ingredients come from? We’re betting you didn’t.
There’s a sense of entitlement about our complacency with the constant availability of goods. We never think about the possibility of, one day, the absence of our favorite treats, let alone the necessary fruits and vegetables for our nutrition. Can you imagine an empty grocery store, with people fighting for the last can of green beans that we turned our noses up at during Thanksgiving, because it’s the last source of food left? That’s the concept of ignorant consumerism. It’s where you purchase goods without considering their production process and their global effects. It’s the ignorant and entitled assumption that everything in the environment will automatically to replenish just to fit our “needs.”
We’re more passionate and opinionated about Starbucks’ holiday cups, than the deforestation associated with producing them. Isn’t it demeaning to our own intellect that we care more about religion on beverage containers than the environment? We don’t consider what we need, just what we want. Lately, there’s been a blending of the two, resulting in wastefulness. Our inability to recognize and reduce our consumption is resulting in the depletion of natural resources at an exponential rate. Our “need” for tangible, monetarily-valued goods drowns out the cries of the animals that are harmed and habitats that are destroyed to satiate the human lust for material acquisition.
Our inability to differentiate between necessities and commodities makes us blind to the detrimental impact of our ignorant consumerism. We spend more time making aux cord memes about the latest iPhone’s absent audio jack than considering how producing cell phone batteries requires the mining of coltan, which destroys the habitats of Highland Congo gorillas. Colonies of bees suffer from a collapse disorder that has never been seen before, and their potential extinction will result in the gradual collapse of Earth, with the absence of a top pollinator.
We’re in a strange era where (more than usual) the ocean levels are rising, the Arctic ice is melting, the ozone layer is depleting, and our earth is dying. Yet, have we considered our habits, let alone changed them? Neither our needs nor our wants will BEE here for long if we continue our ignorant habits.