Blatant Consumerism is Kind of Making Me Cringe, Kind of…

Let me start off by saying first and foremost, I absolutely love ManRepeller and in no way is this a diss track to Amelia Diamond’s latest post, A List of Things I Buy Solely For the Packaging. In fact, I kind of relate to this post a lot, because, at one point or another, I have been that person who solely buys something just because the package looks pretty. I mean, if I’m honest, I am so easily influenced by advertising and marketing that Instagram ads give me real anxiety.

I get it. The article is funny, anecdotal, and tbh, I have bought many of those same things for the very same reason. So how do we address the fact that humanity will always have this consumer mentality, while still trying to be environmentally conscious and zero waste motivated?

In a way, consumerism kind of plays around with the idea that common sense isn’t important and replaces it with an artificial sense, which then gets you to buy the product. But shouldn’t we use common sense with everything we buy? Or does frivolity sort of drive the market economically? Can the two exist together, or are they mutually exclusive?

What is ultimately problematic about Amelia Diamond’s prose is where she says,

“I say this because it is how I justify a very severe purchasing habit that revolves solely around packaging, one that more often than not results in products I don’t actually use.”

It’s this very comment that makes me cringe—because she says this habit (of purchasing things solely on packaging) results in products that go unused, which is really something only someone in a position of privilege can say or do, and yet completely removes environmental concern from spending, which is very much what I am trying to work against.

I know—I know—that Diamond is joking and not at all talking seriously about this topic, nor does Man Repeller or Amelia Diamond ever publicize that they are environmentalists, but this article lends itself to being unapologetic for wasting resources—which lends itself to others thinking that this behavior is okay.

Consumerism is fundamentally part of American society because it drives economic growth and promotes capitalism, but at what point do we actually decide to stop being victims of consumerism and choose products that promote sustainability and environmental efforts?

In order to change what is presented to us by large companies and corporations, we have to demand change by refusing to consume products that promote waste and use unsustainable resources. We have to require companies to create with new innovations that can consider consumerism and environmentalism equally, while still providing quality and beauty, without side effects on the environment. If we don’t change the way we purchase products, then we will continue to blindly consume and frivolously waste; it is up to us to create products and support local businesses who strive to maintain this balance.

I sort of wonder if zero waste is the most impactful way we can boycott consumerism, waste, single-use products, etc., or if there are better ways we can change industries. Imagine if we purchased in the world wasn’t destroying our planet and actually stimulated economic growth because it encouraged development and innovation.

I am in no way saying that we all need to be zero waste, or that we all have to live minimalist lifestyles, in fact, I am very much a maximalist—but maybe we can try to create awareness for those who don’t have the same platform to speak up.  Does anything that I am saying make sense, or am I just ranting?

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