Write a 6 pages paper on excessive consumerism is a primary cause of environmental destruction. There is a plethora of evidence presented in this book and elsewhere that environmental sustainability is threatened by the disease of affluenza. . The authors cite the alarming statistic that the diversity of consumer products is greater than the extent of biodiversity on the planet (deGraaf 84).
The authors introduce the concept of “Affluenza” as a diseased manifestation of social greed defined as a “painful, contagious socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.” (deGraaf 2).
Each section of the book illustrates an important component of this rampant “disease”. Part 1 deals with the symptoms of the flu as they represent analogous symptoms of excessive behaviors and effects of out-of-control consumerism. The ravages of this disease are manifest in the destruction of the land, the unrestricted consumption of non-renewable resources, and an arrogant notion of self-sufficiency that ignores all signs of impending doom (deGraaf 90).
The authors present a “wealth” of evidence to support this contention. The first part of the book explores the evidence that obsessive consumerism has overtaken American society and threatens imminent global expansion to become the predominant focus worldwide. This is reinforced by statistics indicating that the American population leads the world in per capita spending and use of natural resources. For example, the authors comment that Americans spend more on trash bags than people in many countries spend on everything else (de Graaf 85). This wasteful environmental stampede is translated into huge houses (and second homes), huge cars, giant-screen televisions, and huge credit card debt that gives new meaning to the old age ”living beyond one’s means” (de Graaf 85). Wanton consumerism has produced a throw-away society that disposes of more materials than the environment can assimilate. Larger houses and sprawling cities take precedence over forests and open spaces. . The authors cite many compelling statistics that support the effects of consumerism on land use. . This contagious disease has spread worldwide, such that rain forests in South America are being relentlessly destroyed and cities in Asia are teeming with overcrowded buildings and streets that have replaced the rural community as the dominant habitat (Reitan). . As a result of this epidemic, Nature herself is ill (de Graaf 86).