When we want something we go and buy it and when we need something, we go and buy it. Whether we have 10 more of the same thing is beside the point a lot of the time because we consumer very unconsciously in the world today.
When we become conscious consumers we take into account the hidden costs behind the things that we buy. As consumers, we are privy to a very two-dimensional view of the product world. Understanding how what we purchase can help to shape more sustainable business processes and an environment that is better off for all of us.
Our world is not infinite
We are now part of a disposable world, where kitchen appliances, electronics, clothes and toys and simply considered to be ‘throw-away’ when they are old, have broken or are out of fashion. Many of these are made out of natural resources such as precious metals like steel and oil, and yet these are non-renewable and limited. This economic model will not work forever although the wide availability of cheap goods hides this fact well.
Education is a very important piece in the puzzle towards creating a sustainable consumer model, which is beneficial to our un-renewable resources and our environment in the long run.
Cost to people
Where and how our products are made needs to be taken into account. The toaster that was just thrown away took somebody their time to assemble, in potentially poor circumstances where the standard of living is low. Where all of our time is also a limited and valuable recourse it is important to consider the hidden cost of production. These are called externalities.
While all of these externalities may not be able to be eliminated, by becoming conscious consumers we are placing a direct vote to support the production of more environmentally and socially sound production.
Looking for items that are classed as “fair trade,” “organic,” “non-GMO,” or “sustainably harvested” is a good start. Purchasing locally produced goods is a large part of the puzzle.
The ‘stuff ‘doesn’t make us happy.
While we are becoming more of a throw-away nation of consumers, our happiness levels may actually be lowering, a large paradox of the consumer environment. You’d think that with all the ‘stuff’ we wanted we would be satisfied?
Ask yourself before you purchase: “Do I really need to buy this, will it enhance my life or make me happy, or am I being led by marketing and a false projection of what I really want?”
Are you a conscious consumer?