Earth Overshoot Day is the day on which humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. (Source: http://www.overshootday.org). And, in the year 2021, July 29th was observed as the “Earth Overshoot Day”. This is of grave significance to the Humanity as we are already consuming much more resources than what mother Earth can offer us in a year. It is as though the human consumerism, rather “Irresponsible Consumerism” is on steroids and is hell bent on destroying the only habitable planet we know, the early signs of which are can already be seen in the ongoing climate change expressed as erratic weather and seasonal patterns.
As of June 15th 2022, it is estimated that we need around 1.8 earth like planets per year to support the global need for natural resources to support our current way of life. The sad truth about this fact is that we, humans, are not even considering to slow down. It is expected that we would have around 5.6 billion active consumers by end of 2030 as more and more people are crossing over the threshold to enter the “global middle class” and this would be contributed mostly by the most populous countries like China and India
If you have been living in India for more than last 20 years, you would have surely observed this behaviour of increased consumerism as the country’s GDP has grown tremendously and more and more people are rising up the poverty line. Increasing economic activity is surely good, but the economic model employed by India is not any different from any other country on the planet, which is the liner model of “take-make-waste”.
In the last decade alone, we have seen a huge growth in the organised retail sector in India, which is strongly occupied by the corporate mammoths who have increased their valuation by many folds by fuelling this behaviour of “irresponsible consumerism”, which is now further accelerated by the new ecommerce and quick commerce players. The organised retail sector, comprising mainly of the big established supermarket and hypermarket chains are one of the major proponents of a consumer behaviour to buy more and more. They do this by throwing in many attractive deals like deep discounts, bundled products, freebies etc. As one walks along the aisles of these supermarkets and hypermarkets, many such deals are strategically placed such that they subtly induce the impulse buying behaviour in us. And in the online world of ecommerce and quick commerce we see the subtle cues of impulse buying behaviour in the form of daily deals, limited promotions, suggested, promoted, recommended deals etc. We consumers easily fall into this trap without even thinking twice about the consequences of the purchasing choices we make. In the end we are ending up in a situation wherein we are buying more than what we need and thus shelling out more money from our pockets than we are made to feel we are saving.
One might argue that it’s our government and politician’s job to take action to curb the resource and climate crisis induced by the economic system, we, citizens, are equally responsible for our actions and should move towards more responsible consumerism. Although capitalism and open markets are a boon to our economic growth, the challenge is in achieving the balance to ensure that we consume only what is needed and in a sustainable manner. We as consumers wield great power to bring about this economic change and so, we should act now to ensure that our children and grandchildren also have some resources left to enjoy and lead a healthy and happy life in unison with mother earth. Some of the basic questions we can factor in while deciding to buy products could be as follows:
- Who is producing the products and how? Is it a huge corporation which has an ulterior motive to only sell and a total disregard to environment? Or is it a local small producer who makes the products in an ecological way?
- Is our purchase supporting local economy or some multinational mammoth which is avoiding taxes?
- Where is the product made? Is it made very far away from the consumer adding additional transportation burden? Is the product locally made and locally sourced?
- How is the product packaged and shipped? Are there unnecessary single use packaging materials used?
- Do we really need an extra pair of shoes or clothes which we would wear only once or twice? Do we need a new phone, tv or any other consumer electronic goods for just for a very small incremental new feature?
- How much of resources like energy and water we consume? Can we save wherever possible? Can we move towards regenerative alternatives?
Since decades we have been conditioned to consume the way, we do. Now is the time to change this behaviour of ours before it’s too late! Let’s join hands in this fight against Climate Change by being Responsible consumers
If you are a customer or consumer who is worried about the adverse effects of irresponsible consumerism and would like to be a responsible consumer, then the Free Santhe App is for you. Use the free Santhe app now to get best deals for your groceries, while supporting local economy and buying ONLY what you need. Santhe App allows you to easily create a grocery shopping list and send it to local grocery stores and super markets. Once local grocery stores and supermarkets send you an offer, you can compare prices and choose the best deal that you like. You can easily download and install the FREE Santhe App using the below links.
- Effects of Consumerism — Global Issues