Customers: The world's biggest problem


ART BY ANNIE LIANG

BY GARY LEE

STAFF WRITER


“The Earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship. We cannot say we love the land and then take steps to destroy it for use by future generations.”-John Paul II.


Pollution has been around for ages, ever since mankind has been able to change the world. Humans have been desecrating the Earth for a long time, and now that the consequences of their actions have become more prominent, they have begun to be more conscious and mindful about their situation. This has led many to see the consequences of their actions, but also point the blame of others.


Specifically, many have pointed the blame to corporations and large businesses for pollution and other environmental harm. This has led to some reform within organizations to limit their impact, but this has not slowed their impact on the Earth all too much. However, much of the blame for this impact can be put on the consumers.


In our economic system, supply and demand, where the price and amount of a product and the desires of the consumers for that product affects how much people will buy that product, majorly affects what products people buy. This shows that the main reason why something is created is because someone yearns for it. As such, a dilemma is created: individuals want to purchase a luxury item at the expense of environmental welfare.


People often associate pollution with large manufacturing companies, and while this holds true to a certain extent, many people do not realize that the consumers are also a major root of the problem.


While it is true that many industries and corporations use environmentally harmful methods to create their products, they only do so due to the demands of the populus, which in turn leads to their profits. In fact, many manufacturing companies rely on a constant source of supply, which results in more production that comes with demand. For example, wood product companies such as paper may be seen as the most environmentally harmful due to the nature of their production, but in reality, a large amount of trees planted within the past few years were actually contributed by the paper companies. They plant more trees to get more paper and in turns a larger amount of sales, as such creating a successful system of supply, source and demand.


In many cases, the ones who can afford the most expensive items are often the ones who likely the ones who cherish it the least. For example clothing, people often purchase high-end clothes made from hours of crafting and cultivating, and yet they would discard them after only using them once or twice. This demonstrates that customers are failing to be responsible for what they believe they need compared to what is best for our Earth and the future.


In addition, there are those who oppose pollution but reap the benefits of it. How many polar bears died for the oil people use in their car? How many people eat and wear animal products despite advocating for animal welfare? What people see as necessities in their life are the very same things which are built upon years and years of environmental sacrifices.


In worst scenarios, what people oppose and argue for are things that are not even necessities. They argue about things that they have the privilege to enjoy while many do not. For example, Amazon, an online delivery service, would not be comprehensible a hundred years ago but is treated as a necessity today. Their service was built on the desire of consumers for quick delivery. Despite this fact, many people see the corporation as the only problem in the industry rather than taking their own desires into account.


Society needs to realize that in order to improve the environment, we cannot simply point to businesses and demand them to do better. Change starts with us, and we need to realize that sacrifices must be made. For instance, "necessities" such as personal delivery services should be reconsidered as privileges and be used less to save resources.


The bottom line is, these environmentally harmful corporations only exist because people want them to. They are fueled not through their own greed but by the greed of others. Whether out of necessity or luxury, the fact is that they can only be as destructive as the consumers want them to be.