Why materialism will be the end of humanity
Too much is never enough..
Modern humans pride themselves on their advanced intellect which has enabled them to make technological advancements that were beyond the wildest imagination of the early humans. But while the early humans had great regard for the environment, so much so that they worshipped it, modern humans have a completely utilitarian view of it.
The industrial revolution, which unleashed consumerism, has made our lives considerably more comfortable, but it is not without demerits. The more we have, the more we want, and the emptier we feel. It is a vicious cycle.
“To be content with little is difficult; to be content with much, impossible.” Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, Aphorisms
Human consumption of natural resources has tripled in the last 40 years and will continue to grow at an alarming rate unless sustainable alternatives for finite resources and unconventional renewable alternatives for power generation like solar panels are further encouraged.
It would be easy to blame the commercial sector for this environmental degradation, but statistics state that 60–80% of the negative impact comes from the household sector, particularly from the goods that we, as household consumers, buy. We have to think deeper, because taking shorter showers or carpooling won’t solve the problem. A far greater amount of resources goes into the consumer goods that we binge buy without a second thought. For instance, it takes a whooping 17,000 liters of water to produce just one kilogram of chocolate, and a single pair of sneakers generate as much as 13.6 kilograms of carbon emissions. This is why we need to put more thought into what and how much we buy.
But as the global GDP per capita is rising every year, the rate of consumption is increasing. Consequently, so is the degree of environmental crisis. It is so ironic that the smartest species on earth is so foolish as to lead itself to its own doom. We depend on our environment to get the products that we need, and yet we don’t look after it. Man is rushing in the heat of hope, to acquire more and more. But no amount of worldly pleasures will ever be enough.
“No social system will bring us happiness, health and prosperity unless it is inspired by something greater than materialism.” — Clement Attlee
Consumerism can only provide fleeting moments of happiness. Lasting happiness and true fulfillment can only be achieved by that which is immaterial. All that’s left for humans is to realize that they have been using the wrong means to get to the right end.
Also read — The HEAVY price we pay for “fashion”