Our consumption of products and services impacts the environment in many different ways. The things we buy have often been made through processes which may affect climate change, pollution, biodiversity loss and depletion of natural resources.
Overconsumption is therefore a problem and an increasing one. A survey commissioned by Greenpeace
, of the shopping habits of people in Europe and Asia finds that regularly buying too many clothes, shoes, bags and accessories has become an international phenomenon.
Today the cost of repairing faulty appliances, power tools, and high-tech devices often exceeds the price of buying new. Planned obsolescence - the strategy whereby the current version of a given product will become out of date or useless within a known time period – contributes to growing demand and more production. The used items are disposed of, very often in landfill. However, in Scotland initiatives are underway to reverse this trend. The total amount of waste disposed of to landfill has generally decreased steadily between 2005 and 2017. (SEPA)
The Church’s View
Stewardship of Creation.
Because creation was entrusted to human stewardship, the natural world is not just a resource to be exploited but also a reality to be respected and even reverenced as a gift and trust from God. It is the task of human beings to care for, preserve and cultivate the treasures of creation (John Paul II, The Church in Oceania, 2001, n.31).
...our industrial system, at the end of its cycle of production and consumption, has not developed the capacity to absorb and reuse waste and by-products. We have not yet managed to adopt a circular model of production capable of preserving resources for present and future generations, while limiting as much as possible the use of non-renewable resources, moderating their consumption, maximizing their efficient use, reusing and recycling them. A serious consideration of this issue would be one way of counteracting the throwaway culture which affects the entire planet. (Pope Francis, Laudato Si, parag. 22)
Change of Lifestyle.
Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat global warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it. (Pope Francis, Laudato Si, parag. 23)
Ideas for Action
- Find out how to cut your plastic consumption. 15 Ways to Reduce Your Plastic Use
- Reuse Network supports more than 150 reuse charities across the UK to help them alleviate poverty, reduce waste and tackle climate change.
- Find out more about recycling your unwanted electrical and other items where you live. Recycle for Scotland
- Zero Waste Scotland, helping organisations save energy and reduce waste
- Super Food Market Food that has not come at the expense of our fellow earthlings and environment.
- Bikes for Refugees have refurbished and distributed over 400 donated bikes for refugees and asylum seekers (New Scots) across Scotland.