top of page

Think Twice Before your next Purchase: How Overconsumption Affects Climate Change?

Climate change is actually being caused by our consumer behaviours. According to a 2015 study, household products and services account for 60% of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Unsurprisingly, the most per capita impact is caused by wealthy nations.

Industrial Revolution and Consumerism

In the 17th and 18th centuries, consumer spending patterns underwent significant changes in the UK, the Thirteen Colonies, France, and some Germanic regions. This led to variations in market uniformity, availability of goods, and sales volume. New appliances like washing machines, TVs, fridges, and cars were heavily purchased by consumers. Marketing experts have devised strategies to influence consumer behaviour by tapping into our emotions, exploiting fears of potential consequences if a product is not purchased, creating a sense of urgency to not miss out, or appealing to the desire to enhance our attractiveness. Many people consider shopping as a popular leisure activity nowadays. However, the pleasure that it brings, such as the excitement from finding a good deal, the temporary escape from problems, or the feeling of owning the latest item, is short-lived. This is because it is more connected to the act of buying rather than the actual item purchased. But how is linked to climate change? A study conducted by Christoph Meinrenken, an associate research scientist, found that on average, a product produces 6.3 times its weight in carbon throughout its lifespan.

"Technology is Not Enough"

A group of researchers from the University of New South Wales conducted a study and found that the impact of human activity on the environment is largely determined by the consumption patterns of affluent households. In order to address the global environmental issues we face, it is crucial that we adopt a new perspective on wealth and make changes to our way of life. Professor Tommy Wiedmann, who led the study, emphasizes that we cannot solely rely on technology to solve issues like climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. Structural changes, reducing overconsumption, and a shift in our affluent lifestyles are also necessary.

What Can Be Done

It is important to remember that while buying sustainable products is a good start, reducing our overall consumption is the ultimate way to help the environment. Even sustainable products require resources and energy to produce and transport, and some may not be as environmentally friendly as advertised. For example, certain plastic-free or biodegradable items may actually have a larger carbon footprint than their plastic counterparts due to their heavier weight. self-control As about day to day self control these are some simple steps that will help us to have a little bit more control of our daily consumption habits:

  1. Daily list: It's a good idea to keep track of your daily consumption habits by writing them down on paper. This includes simple things like how long you spend in the shower as well as more direct habits like buying takeaway coffees, ordering deliveries, and purchasing clothing.. Then, consider how much of that stuff you need to survive, how much is important for your comfort and happiness, and how much is just extra or a luxury.

2. Learn to be happy with less: Consider how you can restyle and repurpose clothing from season to season rather than purchasing new clothes every season. Have you considered buying used items instead of always buying new ones? It could be a more sustainable and cost-effective option to explore.

3. Minimalism: Less is more is a lifestyle that we should all start to assimilate. Searching for happiness, not through material things but through life itself and at the same time living in a more sustainable world is what really matters.


bottom of page