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Environmentally Responsible Consumerism In India

To know the meaning of environmentally responsible consumerism we have to first understand what an environment is and what led to the formation of environment and why one needs to be an environmentally responsible consumer.

Environment is a word derived from a French word Environner, environment is nothing but our surroundings, meaning that it is a sum total combination of all living and non living things. This environment can also be defined as an external surroundings and conditions which directly or indirectly affects the living organisms, environment is sum total of air, water and land and This interdependence and the Balance formed by the interdependence in correspondence to the organic matters forms an environment, The environment is divided into many types of components like atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere and biosphere.

One of the most dominant creature on this earth Humans first appeared on this planet around two million years ago[1], at first they were not capable of utilising resources which were present in the environment but after sometimes they started evolving at a very high pace and started inventing various tools which were used to make their tasks easy, their biggest inventions involved development of wheels and learning the uses of fire, although the first wheel which was made was not used for transportation but it served for potter's wheel[2]

But after some years these inventions were not only used for personal purpose but was also used for transportation and it made the humans more capable in transporting and consuming the resources, which helped them not only to sustain their life with ease but also gave them an edge for further future and after sometime they started settling themselves at a permanent place and established various civilizations it led to a sudden spike in consumption of various necessary resources and to fulfil the same they started to collect several resources and in course of that the capability to produce and to consume gradually increased but after some times the so called consumption of resources turned into the exploitation of the resources which led to scarcity of resources among the living beings.

Time passed and the needs of human beings increased but the resources were limited which became the apple of discord between the people who were in need of the resources and they started using various unethical ways to acquire the same and in the process of consumption the human beings started acquiring more than what was required and this became the cause of unequal distribution among them. People had the desire to acquire more and more just for the possession which is considered to hold the so called status in the society.


Consumerism is defined as an idea that rise in consumption and buying of goods and services which are available is always an attractive goal for wellbeing and happiness of an individual and this idea mainly depends upon the fundamental theory that a person's happiness is depended on the material possession, and it is a common phenomenon that humans always desire more whether it is power, money, property or anything else, this consumerism is a very old concept like in ancient societies people who had things in excess than others they had an influence in the society for example from the day when animal husbandry was started girls used to marry the person who holded maximum number of cattle, which was the reason why they started acquiring more than what they needed.

As society developed people started flaunting their fancy clothes, various gadgets, and other things which were not so important for their livelihood but then also people were buying them just for material possession. In common day to day life this consumerism is playing very important role as people are inclining more towards material consumption and they are buying more and more things in order to maintain their status in the society and as consumerism is hitting the market the acquisition of things created the perception of wealth and success, in other words we can say that consumerism is a social and economic phenomenon which encourages the accession of services in more and more amount.

In this world where the demands of the people are limitless and to tackle this demand we need production for which it is necessary to open production houses and these production houses are increasing everyday for example: for the need of clothes we will have to set up a textile factory, for the need of coal we will have to set up coal mines, for the need of transport we will have to make suitable paths for it and there are many other things which we need for our day to day activities and for that we have to make certain necessary arrangements which may cause severe harm to the environment if used blatantly, lakhs of factories are set up in different parts of India which releases hundreds of harmful gasses like CFCs, Carbon monoxide, Cardon dioxide, Sulphur oxide and many other harmful gasses in the atmosphere untreated which results in poor air quality, acid rain damages the crops, grains as well as the soil fertility and productivity and it is also damaging monuments such as the Taj Mahal which is constantly eroding, gasses like CFCs are damaging the ozone layer[3] and which has almost made a hole in it due to which the UV radiation level is increasing which is affecting the plant growth, as well as the agricultural productivity of the soil, a study by the Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology and National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee have found that the number of glaciers in Himalayan range had gone down from 103 to 97 and a total area of 41.2 � 10.5 km2 (18.1 � 4.1%) lost in a short span of 35 years- between 1976 and 2011[4] and due to the decrease in the area of glaciers animals living in these glaciers such as the snow leopards has been listed as endangered in IUCN's red list.

Many hazardous substances are also allowed to be discharged in the various rivers and thus pollute them few years back a report as published that factories in Maharashtra are damaging the quality of rivers[5] and this becomes one of those reasons due to which the marine life of aquatic animals are at stake and we have also seen this in the year 2016 when nearly all the aquatic animals of river Yamuna were chocked[6], when we talk of natural resources, we find that with only 2.4% of total world's land area India has to maintain approx. 18% of the total world's population[7], and India has the highest population growth rate, which means that the environment already facing problem in maintaining its population and if the people continue using the resources blatantly then it will act like an over burden for the environment and the consequences of the same can be very scary.

Coming to Environmentally responsible consumerism our country is not in a good condition the people of India are using the natural resources in more than the required capacity, online marketing companies are making our life easier but the packing that is done by them involves excessive use of plastics which are harmful for the environment as they are not degradable and hence cause multiple hazards, now a days electronic items are being sold at such a cheap rate that people are buying more and more things and this is acting like a burden on the environment, we think that if anything is being sold in lower price we must buy the same and its alright if that particular thing is of no use for us and we buy certain items just to fulfil our never ending desire of material possession that we have, in these days the requirements of people are growing and these requirements are not something that are very necessary for them but people are buying in surplus just for the sake of possession which would make them feel wealthy and rich.

According to a report published by The WaterAid India used the largest amount of groundwater that is 24 per cent of the global total - and the country's rate of groundwater depletion increased by 23 per cent between 2000 and 2010[8], India extracts almost one fourth of total groundwater of whole world, and the total extraction of groundwater in India is more than the total of China and America together, this is quite alarming for our environment as well as the future generation of this country because a time will come when this depletion of ground water will reach to such a level that the people will move here and there to get a glass of water to drink.

In this present era people are fond of buying many wooden furniture which means many trees are cut for making these things which creates an environmental imbalance and the companies which are manufacturing these items are also unable to stop its production as there is a demand for the particular thing in the market, people are buying more than required clothes, a report was published by WWF and it stated that if India is overusing its natural resources by 70% and if India continues the same its consumption will rise to the combined consumption of all the 34 OECD nations in just 14 years[9], humans are using the natural resources so rapidly that it is leading to the exploitation of the same and the animals and other organisms including flora and fauna are finding it difficult to sustain in the environment which is being created by the humans.

Humans have converted forests into agricultural lands and a lot of urea and other fertilizers are being used by them in order to expand the fertility of the soil which is not only affecting the bio organisms like leeches, worms and many other organisms living in the soil but also directly affecting the health of the people who are consuming it. All these fertilisers are being used just to increase the productivity of the soil because the people are desiring to stock more and more food items and this is adversely effecting the environment.

If this never ending race of acquisition does not stop or becomes sustainable it will drastically lead to the exhaustion of the environmental resources and will also simultaneously make it nearly impossible for the humans to sustain their life on earth, so the people of India should start consuming justifiably and should not try to consume more than the amount which is required for their livelihood, or else incidents like Kedarnath will keep happening and the environment will not be able to maintain the living of humans or any other organisms on this earth.

So the people of India should tie a knot that we will not consume anything in excess to what which is required and we should also try to change this notion that people having possession of more goods or more services are the only who are influential but we should try to develop a notion that people who care more for this mother earth are more respectable ones and should be given more honour and respect in the society.

  1. Introduction to human evolution,
  2. Megan Gambino, A salute to wheel(June 17, 2009) ,,to%20use%20them%20for%20chariots.
  3. Why are CFCs & HFCs harmful for the environment,,the%20earth%2C%20changing%20global%20climate
  4. SakshiRana, Decrease in Himalayan glaciers, study warns of flash floods, depleting water resources (Dec 15, 2017) ,
  5. The Scroll, Maharashtra's polluting factories are making its rivers the filthiest in India (May 15, 2017)
  6. The Hindu, Delhi's waste chokes Yamuna,
  7. TOI, (June 19, 2019)India has just 2.4% of world's land but 18% of its population
  8. NDTV, Ground water depletion a major concern, warna report (March 19, 2019)
  9. The Hindu Business line, India overusing natural resources by 70%, says WWF report (October 27, 2016)

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