Essay on Overconsumption as a Threat to True Sustainability
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Discuss the idea that ‘overconsumption in both developed and developing nations’ is a serious
threat to true sustainability’.
Overconsumption and Sustainability
It can be said that a growing trend of overconsumption, particularly in Western industrialised nations, is rising considerably. This phenomena extends to a wide range of goods and products which at one time were built to be repaired and reused, but now deemed too expensive to do so,are simply tossed aside to make way for a brand-new version of themselves. Additionally, it can be said that in particular developed nations, individuals consume and purchase far too many products which are all too quickly consumed and not reused, repaired or recycled; and after their usefulness has passed are simply discarded or sent to landfill refuse sites. The overconsumption of goods and products therefore is seen as a true threat to achieving sustainability in the 21st century and will continue to be ever more problematic until action is taken to curb this trend. As populations rise and become more affluent and developed, the overconsumption of goods and natural resources generally tends to grow exponentially, and in many cases, unsustainably leads to serious consequences. This essay will therefore discuss some of the main reasons why overconsumption has become a worrying issue and a detrimental trend in major industrialised nations. Furthermore, possible strategies in which to reduce this growing epidemic in the future will be outlined and explored.
The reasons for overconsumption in developed nations could be said to be somewhat complex and not only linked to many countries’ greater affluence but also to the satisfaction of individual’s personal needs. Bourdieu (1984) states that in modern society, consumer patterns and buying behaviour represent an individual’s way of expressing the particular group to which they identify with in society. However, it could be stated that the main reasons for this increasing trend tend to be linked to industrially developed and developing nations generally becoming more affluent, as well as the rise of modern machinery which can produce goods more cheaply and efficiently than ever before. A further factor could also be outlined in that a globalised economy is helping to buy and exchange goods on an immense international scale which is further enhanced through global Internet trading and increased economies of scale in modern manufacturing. Consequently, it can be deduced that it is mainly these phenomena which are driving the overconsumption of goods in modern day society. Pape et al. (2011, p. 26) state that ‘overconsumption in industrialised countries still presents major challenges to achieving sustainable development goals’ and it is vital that governments begin to recognise this. The authors go on to state that increased household
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