Take a Step In The Right Direction And Stop Overconsumption

Savanah Guilmot

You are killing your future kids by the way you are acting right now. Isn’t it scary to know that nowadays, with the international consumption of products, the world uses all the resources that the Earth can renew for a whole year, after only 8 months. This day is called “Earth Overshoot Day” and is, according to France’s minister of ecological transition, a really important matter. Nicolas Hulot stated, “We need to go from a cowboy economy to a cosmonaut economy.” Meaning, we should stop thinking that everything is unlimited when it’s obviously not the case. To avoid the world’s destruction, we should all try to change our way of consuming to become more efficient and ensure our kids’ lives.

The first thing we all can do is stop eating too many animal-based products. Dairy and meat are using a lot of human resources, and are not, in the quantity we consume, good for our health. According to a video of AsapSCIENCE, there are about 33 million km2 of land (almost the size of Africa) used for pasture. And this number is without counting the land used to grow the crops exclusively reserved for animal feed. Cows and other grazers are responsible for about 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions. They also affect our climate since methane is considered as 25 times more powerful than CO2. The water consumption is also a big part of the resources we consume to produce those dairy products. Seventy percent of the global freshwater is used for agriculture. It takes around 1,800 gallons to produce 1 pound of beef, 1,250 gallons to produce 1 pound of sheep, and 500 gallons to produce 1 pound of chicken. To compare, it only takes 100 gallons to produce 1 pound of fruits and about 50 gallons to make 1 pound of vegetables. As you can see, the overconsumption of meat is a huge problem for water, and contributes to poverty in some areas, in which water is exclusively drained for agriculture, and forests are burned to become pasture lands.

The second thing we can do is stop wasting. Every year, we put more than 350 million inkjet and laser cartridges to trash, and at least 35 million of cell phones will have the same sad ending. Brooks Stevens even said, “Our whole economy is based on planned obsolescence… we make good products, we induce people to buy them, and then the next year we deliberately introduce something that will make these products old-fashioned, out of date, obsolete.” But it goes even further than just releasing new products. Even though, yes, businesses create new needs by adding new features, changing the design and paying a lot of money to advertise it, customers are also trapped because planned-obsolescence also happen illegally. The best example is found with printers. Some brands have been suited to voluntarily make the printers blocked after a certain amount of copies. The best solution to our waste is to buy smarter, to recycle way more than what we do now, and to stop changing devices that are still perfectly able to function. By doing so, we can also influence companies to construct products that last in time.

A lot of people are going to say that our buying helps us in our everyday life and protect our comfort, and by doing so, ensure our happiness. But is it really? Yes, we do have way more comfort than before, but do we seriously need to have so many things? Gandhi said, “The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.” Gandhi couldn’t be more right. If everyone was living the American or European lifestyle, it would take 5 Earths to sustain the whole population, and just has a reminder, the population in the US is around 300 million and 730 million in Europe, while we are around 7.6 billion on Earth. Moreover, more comfort doesn’t mean more happiness. Studies have shown that happiness and technology have nothing to do with each other. If you were asking me if I am happier now or when I was young, I would probably answer “before.” Not because by growing up I took more responsibility but because when I was young, everyone was always playing together. Yes, we had some technology, but 90% of the time we were outside playing with kids all day long. Now, most of the time I don’t even speak to my friends anymore, I text them, or I snap them, or I tag them on a publication to make them laugh while I could probably make them laugh just by seeing them.

To conclude, if every people in developed countries were paying more attention to the quantity of animal-based products they are consuming, were buying smarter to avoid waste, and finally stopped thinking comfort equals happiness, the planet would be way better for us, for everyone’s life, and for our kids. And let’s be honest, how do you want them to remember you?