Sunday, October 21, 2012

In the United States, consumption is not a foreign idea. Its what drives our economy, its what makes businesses thrive and provides jobs to the millions of people that live here. From another perspective there is a failure to notice what negative impacts our consumption habits are having on the natural resources that supply our way of life. Today, the United States makes up only 5% of the worlds population, but in turn uses 20% of the worlds resources (Population Reference Bureau). This shows the completely disproportionate relationship between our population and how much we consume, and what we consume eventually becomes waste. The average person in the United States consumes more than the average person in any other country. In many cases, this is due to personal choice. We drive farther, are less likely to car pool, build bigger houses, consume more water, buy more products, and produce more waste than we ever have before. To reduce the consumption rate each person needs to take responsibility about how much and what kind of resources they are using. Carpooling to work, using public transportation, buying local foods, using less water, and turning down the thermostat are all easy choices that a person can make. At the same time, efforts need to be made on a national scale to provide better recycling facilities, and develop better water conservation strategies. The Environmental Protection Agency is a governmental agency that helps to regulate factors that affect the environment. They are working to pinpoint ways to recycle water, and discover how consumption choices of different kinds of families are contributing to CO2 emissions and how these choices will grow and develop in the next 50 - 100 years. These results will then be used to assist in policy making decisions and future research.

2 comments:

  1. I find it interesting that the U.S uses up 20% of the worlds resources, but it makes since. In the U.S people feel that the goal is to go to college, get married, get a nice job, buy a big house, send your kids to a nice school, and then have money left over to buy your family nice things. Why is it that people think that in order to be happy, you must achieve this goal?

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  2. In our society we are constantly being pressured to fulfill social norms. If we stray from these norms we often feel uncomfortable with ourselves or others feel uncomfortable about us. Those factors that you mentioned can be described as what Americans may see as the social norm. In addition, we are a consumer driven society. Everyday we are exposed to something new and better than what we already have. For example, every few months apple comes out with a new product, and millions of people go out to buy the newest thing, even if they already own a fully functional device. Having the newest and best is portrayed as positive in our society, and is seen as an indicator of social class.

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