Our consumption behaviour - in the widest sense of the word, so also the production and distribution of products - is an important factor for the amount of emission gas that increases the global warming. We are made aware by organizations, media and governments of the adverse effects of unbridled economic growth. We are encouraged by them to live more sustainable, to recycle our wast, to isolate our houses, to use public transport. But it all doesn't seems to work, not locally nor internationally. Even individual behavioural change is hard to accomplish. Shopping centres are nowadays places of brainless entertainment that attracts unconscious crowds.
Karl Marx once described religion as the opium of the people. It makes people sluggish and submissive. Now that people are no longer believing in that higher power, they switched over to something more worldly: dumping prices. With millions together they have been converted to the cult of overconsumption and this without having their bank accounts ruined. Just like opium this decline is driven by a purchasing euphoria.
The dumping stores and supermarkets are overwhelming, almost everything is fluorescent, a plethora of colours. Additionally you're tempted by irresistible promotions: flip flop at 1 Euro, a dress for 6 Euro, a swimming pool at 10 Euro and a barbecue at 12 Euro. The cheaper the better. This stores do not even have an ingenious business plan or a great marketing strategy. They are just waiting on an enlarging poor population that is mostly tempted by the lowest prices. But actually the dumping stores are mainly affecting the poor population. They are causing price drops whereby jobs and quality standards are in peril. They are putting suppliers and producers in Europe under even more pressure, requiring them to outsource production to cheaper countries. Therefore a lot of products are not produced locally any more. Europeans are punching a hole in the bottom of our own economy by buying junk products.
Some naïve optimists believe that a big-scale behavioural change is possible, that if the behaviour of just enough people changes, it could have a global effect on the climate change. Numbers of citizens initiatives, like car sharing, city farming, repair cafés and much more, are undertaken. But will it be enough? Because for every praiseworthy initiative there is a large number of not-motivated people that doesn't want to change, that are using the car from one shop to an other, that continues to consume Chinese junk, because they need to, because nobody should interfere with their happy life. Why (and how) should they change their habits? It's an unequal struggle for a more environmental approach, because it mobilize so less people for real.
Governments shouldn't wait on citizens to implement themselves the measures that are necessary for the climate change. They should oblige their citizens to a sustainable behaviour. Unfortunately, the politicians, industrials and leaders are themselves having an exuberant consumption. Unfortunately, no individual can step out of the capitalist system. Unfortunately, there is no other choice to consume. So let's try to consume as less as possible, right?
Update 26/02/2014: interesting lecture of "Noam Chomsky": Why you can not have a Capitalist Democracy!