I have been thinking about how I can be a conscious consumer. It’s not easy, not when our consumption habits have been made so effortless. Companies and brands want us to buy their products, and they have made it as easy and mindless as possible. A couple of clicks and you’ve purchased that shiny new thing. Each and every one of us on this planet is forced to consume our basic essentials in any case – we have to buy food, for starters. Keeping that in mind, this is such a massive issue.
Our habits are causing so much harm. And there are so many of us. It’s hard to grasp the extent of our effect on this world due to our mindless consumption of resources.
I mean, first of all, there are so many people on this planet.
How many did you say?
There are 7.5 billion people in this world, and we are all collectively wreaking havoc on the delicate system that nature has in place. It completely blows my mind how many people there are.
Now, it’s admittedly difficult to grasp this number. What is one billion? What is one million, even? OK. Did you know that it takes about two weeks to count to one million? And it takes 50 years to count to a billion! So, just imagine you’re saying out everyone’s first name one after the other, without stopping – about the same amount of time you’d take to count one second.
It will take you over 375 years to just say out aloud the first names of all the people alive on earth right this second.
That is how many people there are on this tiny little planet.
And all 7.5 billion of us are ravenously grabbing at every resource we can get our hands on. Hungrily demolishing vast tracts of forestland, wiping out entire species and releasing toxic gases indiscriminately into the skies.
Want a quick guide to help you make deliberate, conscious purchases? Click here (or the image below) to download it.
But I didn’t do anything!
Ok, well, we’re not all equally responsible, right? I mean, to be more accurate about the above accusation: some of us are being extremely greedy and destructive, while the rest of us are teetering on the edge of existence, struggling on a daily basis to make ends meet. This is an accurate statement from a socio-political viewpoint. And soothing salve for the “hey, things are not that bad. Have hope!” type of people.
But, think about it. As far as the planet is concerned, all of us—our species—are collectively responsible for this state of affairs. It doesn’t matter if you’re from a poor country or a “developed” country, it doesn’t matter if you’re Bill Gates or a nameless Syrian refugee who drowned just off the coast of Italy. It’s all fine to rail against individual capitalists and corrupt government heads, but ultimately, in a planetary sense, they’re simply products of the uniquely human system we’ve all collectively built. We can blame individuals (Trump), or groups (Big Oil), but it’s all being enabled by us – our needs, our greed and our insatiable appetites. Of course, some of us literally consume way more than others. But, in the final tally, does it matter whether the lungs failed first or the heart? Dead is dead.
Now that I’ve spread my depression to others, I want to pull back a bit and help get you more depressed. Haha! Here’s a triple list of some amazing documentaries that you can benefit a lot from watching. In this age of instant gratification and chronic disconnect from reality, one thing we must hold on to is our objectivity. It’s under attack from all quarters, and the only way to nurture it is to read, learn and look at all relevant sides of any issue. Rinse, repeat.
And since the foremost issue of our time is climate change, this series of Documentaries to Watch covers, first, our consumption patterns and how they affect the planet; second, a look at other species and how they’re doing (spoiler: not well); finally, some documentaries that directly address global warming and climate change.
It’s all a grand horror story. Enjoy.
Part 3: On Climate Change