North America is facing an epidemic of greed. People constantly succumb to their desire for more - more food, more clothing, more gadgets - without thinking about what these products are made of, how they were manufactured, and from where they were shipped. Before steps to stop environmental damage can be taken, people must realize that insatiability and sustainability cannot coexist. Our earth has limited resources, and if we continue to push their limits by demanding more, the environment’s delicate balance will be permanently damaged. If, however, we choose to become educated, eco-friendly consumers, we may be able to live in harmony with Earth.
So what makes an environmentally friendly consumer? The key is to learn about products and act on the information. Ask questions like “What is that made from?” “How was it made?” and “Where was it shipped from?” Without being aware of this information, positive product choices cannot be made. Perhaps the next time you go to the grocery store, you’ll want to know if the food you eat is genetically modified or organically grown. Or the next time you buy clothes, you’ll check if the label says “Made of 100% organic cotton” and “Sweatshop free.” If not, you are supporting the detrimental effects of tampering with and contaminating nature through the unnatural practices of GMOs and pollutants.
Perhaps you are not concerned about how your choices may affect the environment, but if you discovered that these choices were killing you, your family, friends, and other organisms that inhabit Earth, then you might be concerned. The pollutants responsible for damaging our environment may be just as responsible for causing allergies, asthma, and cancer. So, why should we insatiable beings become green consumers other than for ourselves? Think about it.
For information about becoming a green consumer, check out www.otesha.ca.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.
This piece won the December 2006 Teen Ink Environment Contest.