Truly economic men will always two questions before purchasing a product. The first question is: “What I am going to buy a need or a want?” And the second is: “Does the marginal benefit out weigh the marginal cost?” Namely, “do I really need this item?” And, “will the benefit to me be greater than the cost of the product?”
Unfortunately, all people whether they are economists or young wild teenagers, have not looked at the goods they are buying in a truly economic fashion. Generally in today’s society we look to buy goods that fill a present desire. They have no concern about whether the product is wasteful or not, nor do they consider the cost of the product on the environment. People have been led to believe that, “the possession and use of an increasing number and variety of goods and services is the principal cultural aspiration and the surest perceived route to personal happiness, social status, and success.
.. The tragic irony…is that the historic rise of the consumer society has been quite effective in harming the environment, but not in providing people with a fulfilling life” (Durning 448-450).
What is even more tragic than not acquiring a “fulfilling” life is that if we do not stop over consumption, it will lead to the demise of the human race. It is not Mother earth that must change, but people. Environmentally friendly technology and products are now available, its time to shift to a new era.
Environmentalists who have already recognized the problem of over consumption realize that the “return to a pre-Industrial Revolution life-style is neither practical nor possible. And even the most ardent shop-’til-you-droppers admit that the majority of people could rethink their consumer habits and still live in comfortable and satisfying lives” (Pollock). People need to find the happy medium in these two extremes to make it possible for everyone to coexist in an “ideal” world, one that would make it possible to live fruitfully but without damage to the environment.
In order to create this “ideal” world society is going to have to cycle out of its old ways. “Transformations of agricultural patterns, transportation systems, urban design, energy use, and the could radically reduce the total environmental damage caused by the consuming societies, while allowing those at the bottom of the economic ladder to rise without producing such egregious effects” (Durning 458).
For many people if you can’t drive you can’t live. This translates into a large usage of fossil fuels, and a high release in vehicle emissions. Fossil fuels provide 78% of energy, and vehicles generate 14% of the world’s carbon dioxide. It doesn’t take a genius to see the correlation between the two.
We need to ask ourselves; “If we know what we are doing is bad why don’t we change it?”
Technology has allowed us to cycle out of our harmful ways. For example, Volvo, during the oil crisis was able to develop a car called the LCP, or the Light Component Project. This vehicle was as safe and reliable as the other cars of its time, and was able to achieve an extremely efficient miles per gallon rating. The idea, unfortunately, never caught on. By the time the new car had finally been manufactured, the oil crisis was over (RSP 6). Not only have people been shown ways to cut the usage of fossil fuels, but they have also been given the option to practically eliminate them.
Many car companies have developed electric cars, although these cars have not yet been perfected, the environmentally conscious consumer can still purchase them.
An even larger problem than the consumption of fossil fuels is the degradation of land in the world. Society has created an “extinction crisis,” Or a time where the environment is being degraded at an unparalleled rate. In order to provide more food for the growing population the rain forest is being burned at a rate of one acre every second. This process not only releases large amounts of carbon dioxide into the air, but will eventually end up killing off all of the diverse species in this fragile region. Scientists estimate that in the rain forest there are approximately 30 million species of .