Here are some thoughts about consumerism from World Watch Institute’s Erik Assadourian. They make sense to me and the link to the whole post is at the end. The challenge is how we change our direction given where we are now.
“Consumerism is at the heart of our culture. We’re not greedy, we’re just living how we’ve been taught to live–by parents, teachers, our country’s mythology (follow the “American dream” we’re taught from childhood), Hollywood, and of course, by marketers. As Jonah Sachs and Susan Finkelpearl discuss in their article, we’ve been sold stories for decades telling us that our happiness, identity, and success stem from what we wear, eat, own, and use. How can that not lead us to defining ourselves through our consumption patterns?
The sad truth is that we can’t keep defining ourselves as consumers on a planet that is finite and fragile. If we don’t move beyond consumerism, the climate will change, as will other ecosystem services that humanity depends on, and we–not the Earth–will suffer the consequences. It seems the right loves to bash Malthus and Ehrlich, but of course they were right (another point of disagreement with Rush so maybe my reaction is not so strange after all). Malthus and Ehrlich were not wrong on content, just off by a time factor. They underestimated human ingenuity on providing food and goods for our growing population. This delayed the inevitable. But eventually the pressures on the planet have built up and thus, sadly, the crash will be even greater when it comes. That won’t mean the end of humanity, but it will probably mean centuries of insecurity as the human population adjusts to a new ecological reality.”