Population Growth, Consumerism, and the Environment
Politics and Activism

Population Growth, Consumerism, and the Environment

Pope Francis' Message About the Environmental Crisis


As human population rapidly grows, we must become more mindful of the increased level of impact our actions have on the planet. In today’s American culture, it is difficult for the masses to be fully aware of the global environmental crisis, since our population appears to be moderately sustainable, efficient, or at least “good enough to get by.” Because consequences of unsustainable behavior are for the most part out-of-sight, they are just as well out-of-mind. Once our population reaches higher levels in the near future, however, our errors will become all the more evident, and it may be too late to make amends.

Over-population is not the main cause for the present environmental crisis. Rather, as suggested in Pope Francis’ recent encyclical on the issue, it is the overly luxurious and environmentally indifferent lifestyles of “first world” society. “The pace of consumption, waste and environmental change has so stretched the planet’s capacity that our contemporary lifestyle, unsustainable as it is, can only precipitate catastrophes, such as those which even now periodically occur in different areas of the world. The effects of the present imbalance can only be reduced by our decisive action, here and now. We need to reflect on our accountability before those who will have to endure the dire consequences.”

When the population of a wealthy nation increases, high-quality living expectations remain. Then, the increased number of consumers takes a toll on resources, which in turn harms our planet. Though there may be a shortage of resources, the increasing demand of the ever-growing population remains.

In our consumer-minded society, population growth increases industrial development to meet the consumers’ demands. Mass production facilities often aim towards making profit. When profit is viewed as the greatest good, the cost efficiency of a factory will persuade a company to make decisions which are inconsiderate of the environment. For this reason, countries like the U.S. enforce strict regulations on factories to prevent air and water pollution.

While America’s production policies may be sustainable, our consumer mentality is not. Most merchandise nowadays are manufactured in countries without environmental ethics and regulations. For example, we import most of our products from China, because production in China is cheap. Why is it cheap? Because production factories in China are allowed to compromise environmental harm in favor of cost efficiency. For this reason, air pollution is a major problem in China. According to a U.S. study reported on by the Washington Post, 4000 citizens of China die per day due to air pollution. A contributing researcher stated that breathing Beijing air is as hazardous as smoking 1.5 cigarettes per hour. Although China may be partially to blame for this, equal, if not greater guilt falls on us, the consumers, who support their unsustainable methods of production.

We have to make a decision as a global community not to support environmentally hazardous production, even if it strains our debit cards. The well-being of the planet is not threatened by over-population, but rather our corrupt spirit of waste and consumerism. Perhaps if we could live simpler lives, without so many demands for luxury, our planet would not suffer so much from our excessive consumption of its resources.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Honey has been a staple in my Ayurvedic skincare routine since I was a kid and my grandmother used to make me homemade paste-like face masks by mixing chickpea flour, turmeric, honey, and yogurt together.

I now use honey head to toe — on my hair to make it extra shiny, on my face for its natural smoothing and anti-bacterial properties, and the rest of my body for its extreme textural and brightening benefits. Some people even use it on their armpits for honey's lightening effect on the skin.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

People Are Eating Salads For Breakfast, And It's About Time

As Americans we know we all need to eat more fruits and veggies, why not do it at breakfast?

I first started seeing a dietitian in late 2017. At the time, I was the heaviest I've ever been at about 210 lbs. At the first appointment, my dietitian asked me to record what I ate in a food diary so she could better understand my habits and give me better direction in changing my lifestyle. I did exactly that and returned a week later, diary in hand. After a cursory glance at the pages, she first remarked at how few fruits and vegetables I ate. Deep down I had already known that, but what I didn't know then was that I was far from being alone in that respect. According to a Times article, about 90 percent of Americans don't consume enough fruits and vegetables to meet current dietary guidelines. It's hardly rocket science as to why that is — many of our diets consist mainly of carbs and non-planted based protein. This isn't to say that carbs and protein are the devils; they're both parts of a balanced diet. However, vegetables and fruit are also part of a balanced diet — a part that often gets neglected. So, when I see people on Instagram eating salad for breakfast, I think to myself "It's about time!"

Keep Reading... Show less

Founders Of Color Q&A: Yarlap's MaryEllen Reider On Destigmatizing Women's Health

The father-daughter duo co-founded the brand and has since generated a passionate, dedicated community of women.

MaryEllen Reider

I was lucky enough to meet MaryEllen Reider over a decade ago as a fellow freshman in college. Since then, I had the luxury of being able to witness her evolution from the faithful companion I went to my first job fair with to the woman who is now a pioneer in destigmatizing the portrayal of women's reproductive health.

Keep Reading... Show less

My favorite Editor was feeling under the weather yesterday. All I wanted was to make her a vegan iced matcha latte. With distance forbidding it, I instead decided to write up this quick, easy recipe. I made it to be vegan and organic for optimal health benefits.

Matcha green tea is made from grounded green tea leaf and it comes with the most antioxidant boost ever.

Keep Reading... Show less

This coffee brand is USDA organic. Newman's Own Keurig coffee flavors are all organic. They have French Roast, Decaf, and a Special Blend. I'm in a committed relationship with the French Roast flavor. The smell alone from dispensing 1 cup of coffee sets a whole cafe jazz vibe.

I'm already relaxed when I smell the coffee all ready for dressing. The way I make my coffee is simple and sweet, literally. I add a spoon of organic brown sugar and a splash of organic almond vanilla milk. This cup of coffee has changed my life forever. I have never been so productive in my life and I truly believe it's because the coffee is organic.

Keep Reading... Show less

These organic, cruelty-free skincare products are great for hot, sweaty summers. I use them every day, so you will find my honest opinion about them all. I highly recommend using organic products because they are least likely to be harmful to your body.

This may seem like an extra step when it comes to your beauty routine, but it's really easy. These 5 products could be the start of your next beauty venture.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments