conscious consumer consumption sustainability sustainable lifestyle

What Are the Dangers of Mindless Consumption?

Take a deep breath, close your eyes and imagine a world without greed, corruption and pollution. Take another deep breath and indulge in this visualization for a few moments. 

When you feel ready to move on, imagine a world where mindless consumption isn’t rewarded with likes, hearts, thumbs, or spikes in sales. Can you see that? How does it make you feel? 

Mindless consumption is like indulgence in the most horrifying session of eating crisps, chocolate bars, cookies, white bread with sugar on top and drinking five different sodas simultaneously. Majority of us wouldn’t be able to last long, conducting such a revolting experiment. But when it comes to buying what we don’t need or spending money we don’t have, majority don’t see such a toxic lifestyle problematic.  

Photo by Dan Burton on Unsplash

Before the pandemic people roamed shops aimlessly, strolling along big, brightly lit shopping centres with one objective in mind: to find a good deal. Once the deal was located, the pleasure pheromones got to work. Often leaving a hole in the buyer’s wallet and actively adding to the pollution and environmental deterioration. Don’t waste your precious time, pointlessly walking around the shopping centres looking for a deal. Life isn’t that long; imagine all those amazing things you could have been doing in that time instead of shopping. 

Build a new habit of shopping with purpose, and only when you need it. 

Pushing society towards mindless consumption is the priority for marketers, celebrities, corporations, and, believe it or not, governments.  

Suppose we follow the not so gentle nudge towards consumption. In that case, we only harm ourselves and those around us by adding to global pollution, air quality degradation and a prospect of Earth becoming uninhabitable for humans one day. Where are we going to go if that will come to pass? Mars? Really? Just imagine living in a permanent lockdown because this is the only way the life on Mars would look like. We still may be some years away before Star Trek reality kicks in. However, as long as we cannot easily planet hop, respecting and looking after what we have on Earth should be our collective priority.

I realize that our existence is burdened by consumption: adverts, TV shows, social standards and social pressure; all those one-of-a-kind Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Bunny Rabbits B-day deals are created for shoppers to spend. Mindless consumption is often responsible for masses of debt. When the times are good and jobs easy to come by, with lots of hard work debt can be paid back, but when the times are lean just like now… this is when the real troubles begin. Buying anything on credit that isn’t essential or long-lasting works against the customers. 

I love shopping when the sale is on. It’s a great way to save money, but mindless shopping or using the money I don’t have to shop does “only” keep the corporations repeating the same lie: that customer demand forces them to destroy our resources. 

Nobody needs 15 pairs of jeans or five different bikes; buying a new iPhone every year is bonkers. Social status buys won’t save anyone from heat, starvation and weather unpredictability. Buying heaps of food that end up in a rubbish bin, because there is only so much a person can eat, also adds to Earth’s ecological degradation. Food production uses up a lot of natural resources. If you buy products coming as a by-product of deforestation, you are actively supporting the annihilation of our planet. 

Mindless consumption is a dangerous habit, but luckily we, the consumers, can deal with that without having to wait for governments to pass laws and corporations to amend their ways. We just need to be vocal at demanding sustainability, possibility to repair goods (train young people in the trades of fixing things) and longevity of items we buy.

In reality, people need very little to survive, be happy and thrive. Mindless consumption is nowhere near that list. Globally, we need a shift that rejects consumption-driven culture and lifestyle. There is not much time anymore to debate and set goals. Just look at the tons of rubbish, mostly plastic that are everywhere. I’m more than confident that sending our garbage to Mars is not a viable option.

If you want to have a realistic pick at what our future may look like watch “Wall-E”. Currently, the trajectory humanity has embarked on worryingly closely resembles the plot of this excellent film. Just remember, only chosen few may make to Axiom, a spaceship drifting aimlessly in space for eternity. Well, if there was only a way, we could all contribute to preventing global pollution and ecological collapse… anyone… anything…I’m all ears.

Quick Tips
  1. Try to eliminate as much disposable plastic from your household as you can.
  2. Try to buy second-hand items or fix ones you already have, instead of immediately disposing of them.
  3. Only shop for things you need, not only because something is cheap but may rathe have no or little use for you.