"Stuff" Abuse: You're addicted, and the Environment is paying for it.

Mother Nature has a bone to pick with your “stuff.”

Since you were young you’ve probably heard the echo’s of parents, teachers, estranged hippies, and even Barney (yes, I’m a 90’skid) encouraging you to conserve energy and protect the environment. They’d urge you to ride your bike, flick off the light, and turn bottle caps into bracelets. What they didn’t tell you was to hock your designer handbag, ditch your trendy sneaker fetish and quit buying that expensive face cream.
Consumerism is one of the most silent but deadly causes of environment degradation today. The typical American consumes an average of 194 pounds of “stuff” (goods, products, services etc) each day. In fact, the world's richest 500 million people produce 50 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, compared to the 6 percent produced by the world's poorest 3 billion. (Scientific American). Where does all that CO2 come from? The process of creating, producing, transporting, and exhibiting “stuff.” Your "stuff."
According to Worldwatch Institute, the world digs up the equivalent of 112 Empire State Buildings worth of materials each day. What’s worse than the consumption obsessed American culture chipping away at valuable natural resources, is the reality of fast paced developing countries successfully mimicking American consumer behavior. The inconvenient truth is consumerism is proliferating worldwide. Joel Makower editor of “The Green Business Letter” and writer of “Two Steps Forward” blog, suggests more effort be put towards "green consumerism." Not an entirely new concept, green consumerism is defined by the use of consumerism to drive a demand for green products, and likewise the effort of industries to produce products with the lowest possible carbon emissions. Makower claims green consumerism may be a valuable untapped tool for environmental change, if implemented correctly.
Regardless, in efforts to curb your “stuff” abuse, it may be best to rethink that next impulse purchase. Mother nature thanks you in advance.
How do you move the Planet Forward? Tweet us @planet_forward or contribute to the conversation with your own story.