J500 Media and the Environment


American Consumption Addiction by beccan

Growing up, my mom and dad made sure I knew the difference between needs and wants. We would go shopping and when I picked something up to show my mom she would ask, “Now, do you really need that or do you want it?” and I would hesitantly say, “want it” without any argument as to why I should get it. I just knew that it wasn’t going home with me. 

Photo courtesy of flickr.com

Needs v. Wants

 

As much as I dreaded that question as a kid, I now realize why my mother drilled that concept of needs and wants into my head. In the United States, we account for 5% of the world’s population yet account for 30% of the world’s resources. If everyone consumed like we do, we would need three to five planets to contain all of the waste.

For some strange reason, the idea that when we throw something away it simply disappears into thin air, has been engraved in our minds and is starting to affect our planet. We buy, buy, buy and do not see the damage that is being done or the consequences to our wastefulness. Our ignorance is killing our home and it is going to take a lifestyle overhaul to change it.

Having the newest phone, car, computer, you-name-it, is so important to us as Americans. The stuff that we have determines our social status and that status is so important in the American culture. Just think, when the U.S. was deep in the recession people freaked out, because they were not going to be able to consume mindlessly anymore. It made people crabby, because they couldn’t have all of the new stuff they wanted.

The internet has also made it easier to consume. We do not even have to get out of our chairs to buy new stuff anymore; it is delivered to our doorsteps. Advertisers tell us that to be “cool” in society we need to have the latest gadgets, styles and trends, which means we throw our barely-used stuff in the landfill to replace it with a new version of the same thing. This lifestyle has started to spin out of control. 

 There has been a consistent increase in the amount that Americans waste each year and the question is: can this be stopped or are we too far into our consumption addiction to turn it around? 

Becca N.

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4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Becca,

I like the topic of your post. My question is, how and why do you think, in our American culture, that we have reached this point of constant consumption? Do you think it has to do with how our society has become one of convenience?

Micole A.

Comment by micolea

Thanks Micole-
Personally, I think it is just a part of our culture that is so deeply involved with appearance and status. We have to have the best or newest things to be happy, unlike other cultures where money is not as prominent. I think that the fact that we have money is a large factor in our spending, too. To Americans, building up credit card debt is worth having the newest phones, cars and gadgets.

Becca N.

Comment by beccan

Becca,

Many “capitalists” say that being green will ruin our economy. What do you think? -Kristina B.

Comment by kristinabev

Kristina-
Personally,I don’t think that going green will ever really hurt our economy as long as we know how to adjust. The thought of our economy hurting from going green is also very far-fetched right now that it is hard to even imagine.
Becca N.

Comment by beccan




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