By Oscar Chemiak
Consumerism. It all started with the Industrial
Revolution in late 18th century England. It was a time marked
by technical advances that allowed the development of faster
and more effective ways to produce crops, tools and textiles.
The world became a very different place. Lives got easier
in some ways and harder in many others as people started working
themselves to the bone and forgetting their responsibilities
to family and the Earth.
Employment rates were high, as workers were needed to create
manufactured goods, but with this came unsafe working conditions,
abuse of employees and the use and misuse of children in the
The push to create more and more manufactured products created
an endless cycle of despair:
- Products were invented to make our lives easier.
- To manufacture these products, more human power and
natural resources were required.
- Larger factories were built, placing a strain on
- People were leaving home-based industries to work
in the factories, and sacrificed their health and personal
lives to acquire goods that they had never actually needed
- Families were torn apart when members went off to
work in the city factories, and the days were long and the
work was dangerous.
- Factory accidents were common and there was no social
network to take care of those who were injured.
All this for the 'progress' that consumerism
offered. I'm not suggesting we should go back to the
days of no electricity. What I am suggesting is that we all
take a look at our levels of consumerism and see if there
are any adjustments that can be made.
Could we all do with one less piece of brand name clothing
and still lead a happy life? Do we really need to hold down
two jobs so we can buy that latest new 'gadget'?
Think about it while we still have an environment to think
about. It's worth it.
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