Last Sunday i went to the mall and came back empty-handed. This was not because it was extremely hot indeed everything was indoors or i was unwell. I went to one of the biggest malls in the city with store after store offering numerous discounts and tantalizing summer collection. But even after all this, it didn’t occur to me that my biggest purchase for the day has been a bottle of water. This was until my dear friend who accompanied me that day asked with a little bit of shock and surprise in his tone “ So how come you didn’t buy anything today?”
This had me thinking, and the answer, unfortunately, was not too far behind in my timeline. There I was buying shoes, clothes, bags everything that’s new or trendy or even available. And why shouldn’t I? Didn’t I earn my right to spend? Isn’t the economy dependent on extreme consumption? Doesn’t society expect me to dress and look a certain part? Guilt ofcors has been the supporting pillar of consumption. So i would buy when I was happy or shop when I was sad.
I only questioned this constant consumption when I came down with heatstroke twice in a fortnight. Now like any sane person, you also must question, what has consumption got to do with my poor decision of stepping out. But here’s my question, do you remember the times when we were growing up? We used to eat what was locally grown and get most of the clothes stitched from the friendly neighborhood tailor. But then the economy opened and we saw the local supermarket aisles doling out cheese and wine from France, quinoa from South America and so many other fancy food items from across the globe.
It was not just food but fashion, automobiles, electronics, consumer durables and luxury goods everything was available. All of a sudden we had so much to choose from, we had things we didn’t know we needed, till we saw them. In the rush to buy all this we forget the burden we are putting on our planet. All the above items travel hundred and thousand of miles before reaching us. Excess mining of minerals and metals have not only led to depletion of resources but also greed has resulted in civil wars, and let me tell you the ecological damage is real and climate change is a fact. The mountainous landfills which are on the outskirts of almost every city and the hundreds of trucks which carry garbage from one location to the other, bear a testament to our unconscionable consumption.
A recent report states that climate change caused by excessive consumption and over-exploitation of resources according to DARA group a Europe based Non-government organisation, is already contributing to the deaths of nearly 400,000 people a year and costing the world more than $1.2 trillion, wiping 1.6% annually from global GDP which is expected to rise to 3.2% of global GDP by 2030.
So while we were beaming with pride at technological innovations and the shape of the global economy, the ecological impact of the same cannot be ignored anymore. I am in no way against advancement, I can’t stop but beam with pride when we launch new satellites or when medical advancement gives hope to millions of people with incurable diseases. Despite all this somewhere we have to draw a sensible line and not fall into the trap of mindless consumption. Buy what you really need, share and reuse what you have and recycle responsibly. It is not just the State which is responsible for implementing policies, we as citizens are also responsible for taking a step in the right direction.
And while we all go out and celebrate Mother’s day, remember not to abuse mother nature. After all, we are all here because she has been kind to us, but let’s stop before we cause irreversible and irreparable damage to her and our future generations will have to pay for it.