Like it or not, to the big corporates out there, you and me are labeled as mere consumers. In large corporation’s marketing plans we’re all referred to as consumers. I don’t know about you, but the thought of being labeled and put in box like this, kind of brings out the rebel in me. Especially with the word consumer having such a negative connotation to it. Allow me to explain.
To consume means to devour, to guzzle, use up, digest, absorb energy, etc. And that’s exactly what we are doing when we prefer convenience over responsible consumerism. Society has been conditioned by the media to demand and expect instant gratification.
Everyday mass produced consumer products are available on almost every corner in the suburbs. Most of these products are of questionable nature considering their origins (Made in …you know where) and chemical ingredients. Our dissatisfaction with what we have and our lust for instant gratification, cooler gadgets, the latest flat screen TV, our blissful ignorance, is feeding the corporate beasts of this planet.
Now unless you’ve been living on another planet, you’ll know that planet earth is pillaged day in and day out for minerals and raw materials to feed our need for all these consumer products. Raw materials must constantly be mined, drilled and sourced to produce all kinds products for the mass consumer market. Fuel for our cars. Polymer for our plastic bags and tupperware parties. The last square mile of a rainforest for your exotic furniture set, and the list goes on.
We as responsible stewards of what God gave us, need to evaluate our own consumer habits and realise the effect it has on the environment and ultimately our health.
So what can you do as mere “consumer”?
There are many things you can do to minimise your impact on the environment. But, remember, there is power in numbers. Imagine if most Pick & Pay and Woolworths shoppers demand and refuse to buy products made in China. They’ll have no choice but to respond to our demands or they’ll loose customers.
After all we are the new consumer with the Internet at our fingertips and ethical choices abound. And who knows, if enough consumers, err… sorry I meant people like you and me, continually demand ethically produced products we may well have a positive influence on the environment.
A Few Green-ish Tips
1. Start Recycling
In the United Kingdom, the Waste and Resources Action Programme stated that Great Britain’s recycling efforts reduce CO2 emissions by 10-15 million tonnes a year. Check out Mr Recycle to start recycling.
2. Buy Second Hand
Gumtree is a wonderful thing. Recently my wife was looking for baby necessities. Many of them were bought second hand at very reasonable prices. They are all just as good as the new. Before rushing off to the nearest retail store, please consider purchasing second hand. This helps to decrease the demand for new products.
3. Hey Mom! Buy Re-useable Nappies
If you are a mommy to be or new mommy then using re-useable environmentally friendly nappies instead of disposable nappies is the way to go if you want to go green.
Now I want you to know that I am no revolutionary thinker and I can only preach what I live. These are just few of the many things Carien and I do in our everyday lives to minimize consumer mentality and our impact on the environment. We’ll be posting more practical green tips in the future.