Rampant consumerism is the root of all evil.
The more we shop the more damage we are doing to the planet, according to one of the UK’s leading environmental campaigners.
The interview with the Government’s expert on all things green Jonathon Porritt in The Observer makes some interesting and at times some valid points.
He maintains that many of the problems our planet now faces lead back to consumerism.
“It has created unsustainable inequalities and threatened to tear apart the very fabric of our society,” he says in the newspaper interview. “More powerful than any cause or even religion, it has reached into every corner of the globe.”
The aspirational nature of the society we now live in – he highlights newspaper and magazine images of “celebrities” on lavish spending sprees as providing an unsubtle message that the more we buy the happier we become – leads to incidents like the near riot at a Primark store in London last week as thousands of people attempted to buy limited stocks of cut-price designer clothes.
We already know we are living in a wasteful society, we throw away so much and immediately go back and out and buy replacements. But our collective failure to embrace recycling or curb our spending habits shows that we simply lack sufficient awareness of the impact we are having on the world around us.
The spread of consumerism around the world, in emerging economies such as China and India particularly, shows that the problem is getting worse.
The article highlights the rise of the so-called Froogles who are reacting against this spend, spend, spend ethos. Yet in many respects they represent a tiny blip when compared to the majority view.
There are many indicators of the inexorable rise of consumerism and its impact on our environment – from the successive record-breaking profits of retailers like Tesco to the fridge mountains in various parts of the country.
The cultural change required to stop our shopping habits from killing the planet cannot happen over night. The question is, do we want it to happen at all?