We live in a consumer society where purchases aren’t just economic actions. They come with social, cultural, and psychological implications as well. This means that a large part of what we do, what we value, and how we are defined revolves around the buying and consuming of things.

Throughout human history, people have always “consumed” the necessities of life — food, shelter, and clothing, but the Second Industrial Revolution fundamentally changed consumption patterns by offering a variety of products on a mass scale. In the pursuit of consumption, people were more willing to encroach on the environment to gratify spontaneous desires, leading to the rise of consumerism.

The big problem with consumerism is that it is not sustainable. Resource exploitation for the production of non-essential commodities is responsible for the environmental issues we’re facing today, including climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and pollution.

Consumerism also leads to social and economic problems. It increases debt levels, negatively harms our mental health, exploits workers, and widens the gap between the rich and the poor.

But the tide is turning. Increasing awareness around these issues has led to a shift in buyer behavior towards conscious consumption.