American Consumerism and the Global Environment

All over the world people are consuming every day, in some cases nearly all the time. In today’s economy the global resource network has given us the ability to shuffle goods from where they are produced to where they are desired at mind-boggling speeds. Consumerism in America is currently the home to the most exorbitant consumerism. With only 1/20 of the world's population, Americans consume 20% of its resources. Our 5% of world population is also responsible for 50% of the world's solid waste. One of the main causes of the rise in consumerism is that items that were once considered luxuries (televisions, cell phones, computers, IPODs) are now seen as necessary.
“But what’s wrong with consuming? It’s not anybody else’s business what I have in my house!”
This growing obsession with the “keeping up with the Joneses” syndrome has caused a constant depletion of environmental resources. "Most of the environmental issues we see today can be linked to consumption," said Gary Gardner, director of research for Worldwatch. More importantly, perhaps, is that we harm our environment completely unconsciously and anonymously. All we see as consumers is the item on the shelf.