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Apple Store / Apple news / How does the consumer society create an ecological catastrophe?
13 September 2021

How does the consumer society create an ecological catastrophe?

How do we make an ecological catastrophe irreversible, and what can be done about it?

Olha Muntean

Ecology is going through far from the best times in its memory. It is obvious. It's hard to even come close to finding moments when we were as close to collapse as we are now. And this is not surprising at all. The world order in which we are now is the very main factor that contributes to the decomposition of the ecosystem in which you and I exist. After all, we live in an era of consumption.

And it is always easy for people to hate some large corporation that emits tons of poisonous smog, chemicals, industrial waste, and everything else into the atmosphere that adversely affects our ozone layer, provokes an aggravation of global warming, and further brings an environmental catastrophe closer. Yes, we just remember how, bumping into some photos or videos in the news feed that show us how another flurry of chemical waste was poured into a small river, we recall with tears in our eyes our green ball, which we love so much, on which we live, and with foam at the mouth are ready to go out to destroy all the objectionable ones who take our sweet home from us.


At such moments, all problems fade into the background, and we already renounce the use of this or that product ... Until we see an advertisement for some incredibly cool and "cool" gizmo that will definitely come in handy. It may not be very high quality, made of some kind of chemical plastic, but we really want to get it. We need it! And so we become the very people who contribute to the decomposition of the planet.

How does a consumer society work?

Consumer society. It sounds incredibly menacing, what can I say. Hearing this, we imagine zombie masses who follow some kind of dry ration, lining up. And after receiving the expected thing, the same society goes to work in order to be able to pay for the same conditional ration.

But in reality, the picture is far from so creepy. After all, we are not part of the zombie mass, right? We are normal people who function normally, work not only to consume something, but to pay for the necessary needs. We are ordinary people! Only now we are all constituting a consumer society.

It makes no sense to dig headlong into the works of Baudrillard, analyzing thoroughly what a consumer society is, its functionality, goals, its motivation, benefit and harm. No. Just look around. We don't have to go far, because we can start a simple introspection.

Important remark. If you are an adherent of asceticism, content with little, with what nature and "destiny" give you, let's say, then you don't count. You can breathe out calmly. You are not corrupting our nature, but on the contrary, you return to the origins, give up the pleasures of life, reject these consumer goods, and live the way you want it.

But with the majority, things are not so simple. Think back to the last few trips to the store. After all, these were not some small points where you bought the goods in full, were they? No, your path led to a large supermarket, in which the assortment is much higher. But what is really there, the very process of buying reminds you of entertainment. You do not collect the minimum of goods that you need to feed yourself, you look further into the so-called delights. You choose a product that is not necessary for you, and you do it only in order to please yourself.

Or, you have a question about buying clothes. Nowadays, the medium of commission shops, or second-hand shops, has become popular, where you can find amazing things at an extremely low price. However, no fewer people go to the official brand store to find the quality clothing they want. Is it just quality? After all, we want to try on a certain style on ourselves, we want to see a fashionable logo on ourselves, we want to look the way it is considered fashionable right now.

And so very often. We are ready to spend our last money to get an imaginary satisfaction that will not go with us for a long time, but we still do it. We seem to be driven by something.

huge factory

But the consumer society has its horsemen of the apocalypse, who allow big brands to grow, go further and develop their methods of influencing people.


Targeted advertising is no longer a novelty for anyone. As soon as you think about the conditional shark from Ikea, you already have it in your feed, always with an affordable price tag and goods in stock. But that's not even the point. This is the lesser evil that no longer even encourages us to buy. It sows a share of doubts about the advisability of a purchase, puts this idea on the conveyor belt and continues its development. But it's worth talking about the non-obvious opinions of advertising.

The consumer society has slightly deformed. Advertisers no longer need to dazzle in every headline that the product is "quality", "practical" and "reliable". No. This no longer worries anyone. It was popular in the days of the American Dream, when everyone wanted to be similar, but carrying things that stood out for quality was better. Now we have gone into pretentiousness.

Take modern fashion shows, modern advertisements for brands and services. To which majority is quality important now if it is necessary to stand out externally? After all, now a person strives to be not only better, but also different. In the company of friends, everyone aims to create a style that will be unique, to buy such a thing that will not be available to others. And God forbid, if in the end it turns out that things are not original. Some companies arrange a real audit of new things of their comrades, in an attempt to catch it on a fake.

And so, a kind of advertising is launched. You need to show someone who is different. A kind of person "X" who will correspond to the desire of a modern person for a certain uniqueness and a kind of protest. And then, people who will dress in the same way will serve as an independent advertisement for brands and goods.

shopping mall

This even applies to food, when a certain brand is used in the video recipes, which you then frantically try to find in the nearest supermarket.

Choice and price tags

The consumer society is a society of challenge. It is very easy to hook us in any way, to catch us on strange and peculiar aggressive advertising, in which, in fact, there is no advertising. As soon as we see someone pick up something expensive in the store that is out of the bounds of our target price segment, we strive to see what it is, and urgently determine that we need it. After all, it can be an expensive and elite product, a product, whatever. This could be the thing that we have been missing for so long. And then, having come home, we will feel sublime, subconsciously thinking that we have risen in the social rating, and are now involved in a society of lovers of, say, Worcester sauce. Even though we have no idea where to put it, and in what dish it will play with new colors.

The high price tag has become an unspoken guarantee of quality for us. This applies to the choice of equipment, clothing, food. And also, when against the background we see cheap representatives of the same part of the goods, then we simply cannot deny ourselves the pleasure of getting some kind of "chic". But if a cheap product is well advertised, we saw it in a bunch of videos, saw how "respectable" representatives of our society take it, then we will take it with pleasure, and even we will be glad that we were able to save money and get something of high quality.

Striving to stand out

But it is important for the consumer society to feel belonging to something great, something greater. And therefore, instead of using cheap and simple amenities, they buy products that are handmade, without the use of unnecessary chemicals, and that do not harm the environment. This is important to them. The only problem is that this manufacturing method is much more expensive and much more time consuming.


But here large companies are also being introduced that create small subsidiary industries that work using far from the most eco-friendly means, but declare that they make craft products and do not harm the environment in any way. This was done only in order to increase the price tag by 1.5-3 times, and get additional profit from gullible buyers who sincerely believe that they are the very few who help improve the ecology of our planet by buying just such products.

What does ecology have to do with it?

And indeed. It would seem, what does ecology have to do with what we spend as if not in ourselves, in order to please absolutely every whim, when we have absolutely no opportunity to answer ourselves “NO!”.? Yes, everything is easy. Large companies see that people will buy anything, the main thing is how it is presented.

In this regard, the speed and quantity of production of a particular product increases significantly. Factories start operating at full capacity. Yes, now it will be commonplace, but the desire to foist on us as many different goods as possible provokes an increased release of smog, various chemicals into the atmosphere, rivers, oceans. This is what we see now.

But companies go for tricks! Just what is the recent case, when a little-known Korean cosmetics brand began to produce original mycelial water in biodegradable packaging. Only under the biodegradable packaging was a plastic bottle, which is quite harmful for our system.

Moreover, despite the constant increase in the price tag for goods, people continue to buy them! This is not at all surprising, because the purchase of goods that give a feeling of satisfaction becomes a habit, causes a certain psychological dependence among consumers. And then, with the increase in production capacity, the quality of work and the regulation of various safety standards deteriorate. The regulation of the activities of workers and the release of hazardous materials lies on the shoulders of employees, as a rule, who, without receiving visible improvements in working conditions, begin to be negligent in the disposal of potentially hazardous substances.

The main problem is that the consumer society encourages the creation of more of a certain product, while working conditions deteriorate at times and the introduction of new production capacities begins. And buying goods from companies that not only have improved working conditions for their employees, but are also sensitive to the environmentally friendly production issue is overwhelming for many. And again, many large companies also create products that are pseudo-eco-friendly and in no way improve the state of nature, but only exacerbate it.

empty shelves

But the consumer society has affected not only us, the inhabitants. It also applies to companies. Only they have it, shall we say, a gold rush. The prices of goods are skyrocketing, and people keep buying everything! Everyone urgently needs to get into such a game and create their own new brands that can be promoted and paid for.

Are we to blame?

Of course, you can join hands together, run in a circle and be aware of your great guilt before nature and the planet as a whole. However, we are only human. We are simple consumers who buy what pleases us in this already evil world. The main questions need to be asked to companies that do everything to sell us this joy.

They sell joy under the guise of protecting the planet, sell joy under the guise of conferring the status of a unique person on us. And we pick up the trail, follow it. But we realize too late that this is a carbon footprint that is slowly destroying our planet. Already in the same Canada, which is considered to be quite cold, people are dying from the abnormal heat.

And this is not because of us, but because of deception. We try to buy those products that are aimed at satisfying our needs, our ego, our ambitions, and at the same time, aimed at protecting the planet. But we can never be sure what these products are like. We just got used to thinking that we are doing our bit, not paying attention to the fact that in our basket, in addition to eco-friendly goods, there is another delicacy from a large corporation purchased in a huge supermarket.

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