ISSN 2330-717X

Consumerism Destroying Earth, Increasing Poverty – OpEd

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Extreme poverty in the world is increasing as economic progress goes up. The poor are a result of consumerism,

Approximately 1.7 billion people worldwide now belong to the “consumer class”—the group of people characterized by diets of highly processed food, desire for bigger houses, more and bigger cars, higher levels of debt, and lifestyles devoted to the accumulation of non-essential goods.

Today nearly half of global consumers reside in developing countries, including 240 million in China and 120 million in India—markets with the most potential for expansion.

As we enter a new year , this unprecedented consumer appetite is undermining the natural systems we all depend on, and making it even harder for the world’s poor to meet their basic needs.

And as Earth cries, the poor cry likewise.

Both are crying out. Both are subjected to the interests of a few rich powerful countries and individuals that plunder with no regard of future generations.

The most threatened of nature’s creatures are the poor (70 percent of the world’s population) — one billion live in absolute poverty, 3 billion do not eat three times a day, and 14 million young people die each year.

In the same manner, for other living things, between the years 1500 to 1850, one species was wiped out every ten years. From 1850 to 1950, ones species every year disappeared. Since 1990, a species a day was disappearing. By 2050, one species per hour will be disappearing.

Not only living things are dying but their habitats as well. Each year land as big as France is turning into a desert. Fifty two percent of all tropical forests already destroyed, carbon emission has surpassed the safe level, temperature gradually rising.

A death machine is mowing down life in its most varied forms with demonic precision. The machine called Earth’s Guardian Angel–human–has become Earth’s Satan.

And we can’t beat this Satan. Because it is us.

The logic that exploits the poor and oppressed and subjects them to the interests of few rich and powerful countries is the same as the logic that devastates the Earth. Plunders its wealth. Showing no solidarity with the rest of humankind and future generations.

This logic of standing above things and above everything, has shattered the fragile balance of the universe, built up with great wisdom by nature through the Maker’s design, through 15 billion years.

During the past four centuries humans felt they are all alone in the universe and that nature was to be subjected and tamed.

They have instead become Earth’s Butcher as they have proven they can commit not only homicide and ethnocide but biocide and geocide as well. Humans’ death machine is mowing down life in its most varied forms. The poor and the oppressed must be liberated. Nature’s last remaining life forms must equally be liberated from the tentacles of greed.

Dr. Michael A. Bengwayan

Dr. Michael A. Bengwayan wrote for the British Panos News and Features and GEMINI News Service, the Brunei Times, and US Environment News Service. In the Philippines, he wrote for DEPTHNews of the Press Foundation of Asia, Today, the Philippine Post, and Vera Files. A practicing environmentalist, he holds postgraduate degrees in environment resource management and development studies as a European Union (EU) Fellow at University College, Dublin, Ireland. He is currently a Fellow of Echoing Green Foundation of New York City. He now writes for Business Mirror and Eurasia Review.

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