Post by Ria, National  Youth Council Vice-President

Today, in the 21st century, we are constantly surrounded by options: Should I buy the new iPhone? Do I buy the name-brand clothes that everyone will be wearing? Where can I get the newest gadgets? These infinite amount of options often cloud our judgement, causing us to impulsively buy items we do not necessarily need. This cycle is often referred to as consumerism. The thing that we do not realize when we are in awe of the newest and latest items, is the detrimental effect these are having on the environment. Consumerism, at its core, is choosing to own products, often in excess, over our basic needs such as food and shelter. We are constantly looking to upgrade the perfectly good items we already have to keep up with the latest trends. However, this in and of itself causes a huge increase in our carbon footprint. If everyone lived and consumed as much as the average American, there would need to be four earths to sustain us. This simply is impossible, but we can take various measures to combat this. We first have to understand the production methods of these materials. The significant amount of waste that occurs when these products are made directly harms the environment for it uses a tremendous amount of resources. If we call attention to this issue and educate people on taking proper measures, specifically avoiding companies that do not use environmentally friendly production methods, we can significantly improve these statistics. As we go into the holiday season, just remember to keep this in the back of your mind when deciding what is necessary to buy!