To be clear, this is not “holier than thou” editorial. I am just as much at fault as the rest of America in terms of consumerism. That being said, consumerist culture is an atrocity. We live in a country that has 4.4 percent of the world’s population, and yet uses around a quarter of the world’s natural resources. The reason that this is such a horrendous statistic is because 80 percent of the world lives in poverty, on less than $10 a day, and we are taking resources from those who need them simply to throw them away.
We have become so accustomed to consumerism that we do not even think twice before throwing things away, and not even because they are broken. For example, when the new iPhone comes out, how many people are going to get rid of their current model in order to upgrade? Why? We want it. We no longer live in a world where we must meet needs; we have everything that we need. Therefore, want has turned into need and it is causing the world to suffer.
The oceans are stuffed full of plastic waste. Landfills overflow with unsold items that did not quite catch the market. Mother Earth is dying and it is in large part due to us. Us as in the United States in particular; yes, humanity as a whole must live with this burden, but it weighs especially heavy on Americans.
We have to fix it. Those who cause problems are those who must take responsibilty. Rather than just complain, I will offer some solutions. These are the musings of an idealist, and yet they are within reach, mostly because they do not require any gains, only losses. Losses for us as Americans, that is. We must simply consume less! This is easier said than done, as our entire culture screams at us to buy things, but we must stop. Maybe after we discontinue this absurd slide of wastefulness, we will be able to redirect the flow to those who need it. We need to stop being a selfish nation and begin to believe in the ideals that the United States was founded on. All humanity is equal, and thus we do not deserve to live with exorbitant wealth while others live in squalor, especially when we have the ability to help them. We cannot abandon humanity as a whole for the sake of ourselves.