Climate change may seem like a problem of the future, but in reality we are living through the consequences of it right now. In order to reverse the actions of our species, we’ve been told time and again that we need to change the way we consume resources. Oftentimes, we’ve been told that buying green products is the only way to go.
Pressure to go green
However, a new study has shown that the pressure to ‘go green’ might be equally toxic for the environment. Sabrina Helm, lead researcher of the study, says that a huge accelerator of climate change is over-consumption of resources—that includes products that are eco-friendly. According to her, we need to be less materialistic and reduce our daily consumption if we really want to improve the state of our planet.
Their conclusions were based on the evaluation of two categories of green actions. The first was the method of reducing consumption by repairing objects instead of replacing them, and avoiding impulse buys. The second action was ‘green purchasing’—which involves buying products that have been designed to help the planet. These products include reusable beeswax packaging, washable cotton pads, and linen storage bags.
Less is more
They found that in all these actions, only one strategy really works to increase the well-being of both individuals and the planet—that is to buy less, not buy more green products. Helm said in a press release:
You are buying new things and that fits with our traditional consumption pattern in our consumer culture, whereas reduced consumption is new and probably more important from a sustainability point of view.
Furthermore, she stressed that reducing consumption also has a positive impact on our personal wellbeing. She added:
Reduced consumption has effects on increasing well-being and decreasing psychological distress, but we don't see this with green consumption.