Sustainable Consumerism: A Beginner’s Guide

What is Sustainable Consumerism?

We proudly drive hybrid cars, drink fair trade coffee, buy vegetables from local organic farms, and recycle. We do this in the belief that incorporating green consumption practices will further a more sustainable, eco-friendly economy. However, this is only one part of the equation. As long as consumption itself continues to grow the taxation on our natural resources will continue. So what is the difference between “green” consumerism and “sustainable” consumerism?

First, we must understand that “green” consumption isn’t bad. It is, in fact, a huge part of the solution. Green consumerism is the habit of choosing more eco-friendly, energy efficient, and humanely produced products. Energy efficient plasma screens and low flow toilets are a good example of green consumption.

Sustainable consumption, however, goes beyond the individual choices we make and requires a commitment by the society as a whole to consume less. That means that individual choices, as well as government policies, must work together to shift buying habits and production practices. While green consumption focuses on efficiency and impact, sustainable consumerism is a holistic approach to achieving sustainable development where consumers, producers, and government share the responsibilities to consume less in order to reduce the pressure on natural resources.

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