Friday, 15 August 2014

The Ethics of Consumerism: Introduction to green consumerism

The Ethics of Consumerism: Introduction to green consumerism 

Few realize that we have an effect on the environment and ecosystems and the lives of animals and humans with every choice we make and with every product that we purchase.

Humans consume. As we all know, nowadays we mostly buy things instead of making or trading them for something else. We cannot help but to consume; we have created such demand in our lives that we cannot do without. 

However, we now see the rise of green consumerism. What is this? And is this just a gimmick?

Some people argue that the term green consumerism is in itself a contradiction as it tries to give an environmental friendly twist to consumerism that is destroying our planet because of the way and amount to which it is done and in a way excusing this process. Others think that this is the way to actually save our plant since consumerism has become so ingrained in our lives. 

Is it just a gimmick? 

Undoubtedly, there are many companies that hide behind a green facade while others have just a few supposedly green products but still conduct environmentally damaging production for others. This is helped by lax labeling laws and lack of accountability (thus why the campaign calls for more accountability). 

But do not despair! There are actual green and environmentally friendly products. You just need to do your research well and share your findings so to encourage other people to share theirs. When doing research, we have to be careful. Many parent companies have other subsidiary companies. This means that although they have different logos and may also have different principals (depending on how the contract between them was worked out) profit would still go to the parent company thus aiding in things like deforestation, habitat and ecosystem destruction, unfair labour conditions, animal testing and so on. 

Even with labels on the packet, it is always best to read up on how the companies do their work. The internet aids a lot in this as you can find enquiries done by others with the same interests.

Let me clarify that when we say we are Green, we also include the social aspect and not just the environmental like many think. There are many issues concerning how a product or service was made and how it arrives to you. In these weeks, we shall be discussing topics such as fair trade, animal testing, organic food, local produce, permaculture,  DIY and upcycling, GMOs , Vegetarian and Vegan lifestyles, alternative energy and much more! We encourage people to engage in conversation in the comments and if you would like to share an opinion piece on a topic that interests you, we welcome guest entries.

Written by: Marthese Formosa
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