Overconsumption: What Every Consumer Should Know


Jenna Shrum, Staff Writer

The root of the problem lies in our excessive consumerism: we buy 10 while our grandparents would buy 2.

Overconsumption plays a major part in the environmental crisis, so what does this mean for consumers? It would be impossible to have everyone halt their shopping and with social media causing a rise in online shopping, it has made it easier than ever to buy whatever whenever. This is a problem for not only your wallet but the earth as well. This obsession with material items has caused much bigger issues than people may think and the effects of our damage could be irreversible if we don’t act now to make a change.

Why is this a problem now? Although the desire for an abundance of things isn’t new, the speed at which things are produced is. Because there was a slower rate of production, it was much easier to buy things in moderation whereas now with things like online shopping, same-day shipping, and the desire for things that aren’t a necessity it has become much easier to obtain more things and cause more harm to the planet.

How is this bad for the planet? Overconsumption can cause an array of problems such as global warming, ecosystem collapse, and loss of biodiversity. Most things we buy emit greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere which is the main cause of global warming, meaning the higher the consumption the higher the emissions that lead to a butterfly effect of more and more environmental issues.

Why is Fast Fashion not worth the cheap price? Fast fashion has caused an influx of trends coming and going much faster than they ever have before. This means faster production, and garments being worn fast- usually only worn a few times before being thrown away in landfills.

So what should consumers do? Buy less and buy better. Buy what you need and what will last you a long time, which may result in being more expensive than the cheaper clothes our society is used to. Clothes that are cheap end up doing more damage to the environment and your wallet in the long run. Slim your closet down to the necessities as well as a few stand-out pieces, but get rid of what you don’t wear or need. Quality items are much better than quantity. If you’re looking for cheap and affordable clothing that is good quality, thrifting may be for you. Thrifting allows people to buy used clothing items for as little as $1 and the durability of these clothing items could outlast your latest Shein purchase.

There is still hope for the environment and the future of sustainable fashion, but it is up to consumers to fix it and create new habits. Change begins with us and the choices we make as a society and if we can trade our wants for the health of the environment we live in it can make all the difference, but it’s up to us to make it happen.