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Tag: Consumerism


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Opulent, Oblique, and Obsolete

// Posted by on 06/10/2015 (9:39 PM)

http://storyofstuff.org/movies/story-of-electronics/

Hi my name is David and I’m a “trailblazing consumer.”

Really though, I’m a combination of “trailblazing consumer,” “fashion fanatic,” and sometimes I’m just a “fickle consumer.” The bottom line is I’m just as… Read more

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http://storyofstuff.org/movies/story-of-electronics/

Hi my name is David and I’m a “trailblazing consumer.”

Really though, I’m a combination of “trailblazing consumer,” “fashion fanatic,” and sometimes I’m just a “fickle consumer.” The bottom line is I’m just as guilty of this outrageous management of e-waste as the rest of the developed world is.

I strongly encourage you to watch the video above as well as this one, http://storyofstuff.org/movies/story-of-stuff/.

I love Annie Leonard. I was very excited to find out that she was going to be the keynote speaker at a conference I went to back in October. She’s not doing too much work with The Story of Stuff Project these days, but she is currently the Executive Director of Greenpeace.

I’ve always known that e-waste was bad, but I don’t think I knew how bad it had escalated. I just thought we had separate recycling because it was bad for heavy metals to wind up in the landfill and that perhaps components could be reused. I didn’t once think, and I keep up with environmental issues fairly regularly, that these items were being shipped overseas for the poorest of some other country to be left with the remnants of the developed world’s arrogance and wastefulness.

These videos depicted the results of the developed world’s constant desire for the newest and the best. I have to wonder why more information about this isn’t widely circulated, but then I think about it for a second and I quickly affirm that the reason is money. If the obsolescence of computer, TVs, cell phones, and so on wasn’t planned, what reason would consumers, we’ll say in the United States, have to buy a new fill in the blank. Because cell phone companies offer one and two year contract, the average person takes that to mean that in one to two years they will need to get a new cell phone, and they will. Odds are the cellphone manufacturers, Apple, Motorola, etc. will have new models out by the end of that contract period too. Why would you not want to buy the latest and greatest?

So who’s at fault for these atrocities? I know that’s a strong word, but odds are the manufacturers, marketing companies, and even the consumers are aware of some aspect of the waste generated by the disposal and constant desire to have the latest and greatest electronic gadget. Slade states that “our actions as consumers of electronic goods clearly has a ripple effect around the world.

The United States has an opportunity to be a leader here. We need to be a leader in the proper dismantling of e-waste and the proper recycling of reusable parts and disposal of those that aren’t able to be used again. Further, we need to come up with better practices about how we manage what cannot be used again. Since we, as an intelligent people, are aware that the metals and other materials that are used to make our electronics are toxic – we need to find sustainable alternatives that will ultimately mitigate the environmental impact when they make their way to into the waste stream. This is an issue we need to handle domestically – not pawn off on the poor in developing nations. Perhaps if we left this issue at home, and we had to see it every day, we, as consumers, wouldn’t be as quick to jump and buy the latest and greatest. We vote with our wallets, and I know that if I find out a company is taking steps to better manage their electronic waste, and they are finding ways to incorporate fewer and less toxic materials into their products that I would quickly opt to support them with my purchase.

What’s more important? Our environmental future or making a few bucks on selling a few more cell phones?


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‘Delivered today’

// Posted by on 03/03/2013 (8:42 PM)

eBay

Online shopping is very popular these days. For different reasons, some say it is just easier not having to go to the store and just order your clothes or even groceries online. It is less time consuming, if you… Read more

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eBay

Online shopping is very popular these days. For different reasons, some say it is just easier not having to go to the store and just order your clothes or even groceries online. It is less time consuming, if you only need a certain item, you do not have to drive to the store and back, which could take 20 minutes just for one item.

Statistics show that e-commerce grew from 72 billion U.S. dollars in 2002 to 256 billion U.S. dollars in 2011. The prediction is that for 2015 there the online retail revenue is 269 billion and that there will be 175 million online shoppers in 2016. What plays a role in these statistics is probably the fact that in 2012 114 million Americans have a smartphone. The increasing number of smartphones and tablets makes it even easier to participate in the e-commerce market.  People spend more time on the internet, so whenever you forgot to buy a present you can now order a gift anywhere and anytime of the day.

Ebay now has a service that makes that even easier. They designed an app, called Ebay Now, with which you can buy something and it will be delivered in an hour. An Ebay courier will get a message via the app that tells him what to buy and he will go to the store, buy the item you want, and deliver it to your house. Right now, the service is available in San Francisco, New York and San Juan, however it does not make money of of it yet. It is now just a service Ebay wants to try out, in order to keep their name in the running.

I think that nowadays people are so focused on their appearance that they always have to get the ‘newest product’. A part of your identity is shaped by what you own and therefore people are almost never happy with what they got. They are happy with it for a little while, but then there will be newer or other products that are ‘better’ than what they already have. I think that that is also a reason why online shopping is getting so popular. The newer products will be theirs quicker and more easily with the new technology that is around.


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