This Is How Consumerism Is Killing 400,000 People Every Year

By Ira Sahai:

With a booming economy comes high disposable income, which directly leads to an upsurge in consumption. For years we believed this formula is the secret sauce behind the high growth of the economy. Every year we see glitzier malls coming up, more stores offering unlimited choices of food, fashion, consumer goods, luxury vehicles, and every other imaginable thing under the sun.

But how can an innocent and trendy T-shirt that you bought from the latest collection of your favourite brand be held responsible for causing distress to the planet? Surely, someone is out to topple your fashion game – that must be it.

Sadly, this is not a conspiracy but cold hard facts that we are staring at. With consumer consumption going through the roof, so is the strain on natural resources. We are importing more food grain, more consumables for our fancy gadgets, automobiles, etc. All this simply means that before reaching the final consumer, these things have travelled hundreds of thousands of miles.

This means that climate change, caused by excessive consumption and over-exploitation of resources (according to the DARA group, a Europe-based non-governmental organisation), is already contributing to the deaths of nearly 400,000 people a year and costing the world more than $1.2 trillion. It is wiping 1.6% annually from the global GDP and is expected to rise to 3.2% of the global GDP by 2030.

While we are beaming with pride at technological innovations and the shape of the global economy, the ecological impact of the same cannot be ignored. Climate change is not something that is to be discussed by scientists and policy makers on an international forum, it a clear and imminent danger. Until and unless we as citizens take responsibility to move in the right direction, we will be lost in the vicious circle of consumption, pollution, and climate change.

Every small step taken in the direction of lesser consumption and greater sharing helps in reducing the burden on the environment. There is a lot that can be achieved on an individual basis if we start reusing things more and recycling our refuse responsibly. There is no harm in carrying your own coffee mug for takeaway or taking a cloth bag from home when you go grocery shopping. By segregating kitchen waste and composting it, and handling our electronic waste better, we can create an impact that will lead to a cleaner and safer planet for the generations to come.

So next time, before you reach for something, do ask yourself if you can share it with someone.