Why do people continue to consume things (buy things) that they know are killing the planet?

8 Answers
Why does our greed for possessions out weigh the fact that we know we are destroying the planet and ruining it for our kids?

The best that anyone can do is to try to reduce those things that they are consuming, but as many of the above posters have stated, there is only so much you can do before you are no longer living.

I do all that I can to reduce those things I use that kill the planet, but there's only so much I can give up or do. I try to use re-usable shopping bags whenever possible. I try not to do any driving that is unnecessary. I only buy what I feel I need and don't buy more than that. That doesn't mean I'm not killing the planet, too. I'm just killing it a little bit more slowly than many others are.

I will admit that I have done many things that kill the planet more quickly, and I can give reasons for each of them.

I have used disposable diapers for each of my 5 children, because I frankly hate cleaning cloth diapers. They leak, they stink up the house and are miserable to use. Granted, those are selfish reasons, but they are reasons, nonetheless.

Even the fact that I have had five children is not great for the planet, and I will go so far as to say that none of them were planned, but they were all wanted. I love children, and I love my children in particular. I also don't believe in abortion, so that cuts that out as an option.

I use bottled water instead of tap water. If you have ever tasted the tap water where I live, you would understand why. I just don't like silt in the bottom of my water glass, and I have even tried filters to get rid of it so that I could be more environmentally responsible, but they don't work, so I went back to bottled.

I drive an SUV that gets horrible gas mileage. While I would prefer to drive a smaller car, the SUV went on sale when gas prices went up and I could buy it without financing. I figured that my husband and I don't drive that much anyway, as most of the time he drives his motorcycle to work, which gets about the same mileage as most hybrids and better than some, so the SUV works for us, because pretty much the only time it's driven is on weekends, or when it rains (which is not often in the desert).

I think those are my major offenses, but I try to make up for them in other ways. Someday, when I can find a hybrid for less, I may buy one. I shouldn't have to worry about having any more children as my tubes have been tied, so that takes care of both having too many children and the diapers. If I ever find a filter that doesn't leave my water tasting like I have to chew it, I may even give up the bottled water.


The difficulty with morality questions like this is that everyone has a threshold of what they think is too much or what's just right. Our mere existance destroys life. I can't live without eating something that's been alive, plant or vegetable. I have to live somewhere, even in a cave, and kick out any occupants in it, like spiders and snakes. If I were to make my own clothes, how would I do it? Kill an animal, or plow down a field of animals to plant cotton? Or stitch together tree leaves, which aren't very effective for protecting me from the elements.

So, I think most people agree that having a decent house to live in is kind of important for humans, even though it kills trees for lumber, and pushes animals off the land and/or kills them. I'd like some electricity as well, but I guess I could use fire for heating and cooking, even though that pollutes and kills animals, including me. I need a way to pay for it, so I might have to ply my trade in exchange for food and currency, but I need a car most of the time to get these goods and services back to my house/cave since the local vegetable stand, or 7-11, is too far to walk to in relation to the amount of caloric energy I can eat there and carry back with me.

You can see how almost everything we do as humans has a negative effect on the planet. So the question becomes, where do you draw the line to be environmently friendly? Buy organic? Don't eat factory farm animals? Don't eat factory farm wheat? Make your own clothes? Don't waste electricity and use your computer to use Mybestanswer

Now its a judgemental call. I think I'm doing a pretty good job of protecting the environment. I recycle and use a filter water bottle. I think you should eat organic to lower the amount of pesticides on our planet. You think you're doing pretty good by not having a giant plasma screen TV set and by driving a hybrid car, but think I'm an idiot for buying shoes made from leather.

Why do we continue to consume thing? We need to, for the most part. What we need to do is to make sure that we are replenishing what we consume to maintain the balance of our planet. How we do that, and where we draw the line on what is necessary and what is wasteful? That's can only be answered by people individually.


Everything affects the planet. Short of sitting naked on a stump in the middle of a forest, drinking rainwater as it collects on the larger leaves and eating fallen nuts or scavenging for berries all the while allowing the insects to feast on you, you are going to have an adverse affect on the environment.

In recent years as people became more aware of the state of our planet many have made a concerted effort to do their part to preserve it. Nearly everyone uses environmentally friendly appliances, compact fluorescent light bulbs and energy-efficient products. Most people recycle and/or reuse. Many people have begun to car pool. People encourage their families to use less energy and water. The sales of SUVs and luxury vehicles has been on the decline for years. People vacation closer to home. I think nearly everyone is doing at least a small part to reduce our negative impact on the planet.

I don't know to what you were referring when you asked in your question about 'our greed for possessions'. In this economy most of my acquaintances have curbed their spending, dramatically. Those who are buying are paying close attention to gas mileage and eliminating unnecessary features when purchasing cars. They are building or remodeling their homes using green and sustainable materials. Some have even built windmills or solar panels.

I think we have a long way to go but I believe people are at least making an effort to preserve our planet. Instead of complaining about what's not being done we should applaud their efforts and encourage their continued participation.


Well, it depends on whose greed you are talking about. Somehow, it never seems to apply to the person who is speaking. You can pretty much bet that when you speak to an environmentalist you are speaking to a white person who owns a single-family home in a nice neighborhood, with a reliable source of electricity and heat, who owns one or more cars, usually late model, who went to a nice university and hopes that their children will do the same, who has medical insurance and can afford at least an occasional vacation. They don't consider this overconsumption at all, but merely a normal lifestyle. What is over-consumption is when people poorer than themselves, especially people with dark skins, have the absolute nerve to say that they want to have the same things and live in the same way.


The earth is to big. You start a car in a garage and within minutes the air is unbreathable. Leaving a car running in a closed garage can be deadly. However outside people will think nothing of the car fumes as long as they are not standing at the back of the car. People thought they could throw garbage into the ocean and nothing bad would happen because the ocean is big. A while ago I went on vacation in the tropics and in writing it said you could just throw your garbage in the ocean.

People do not actually see most of the damage they are causing. They continue to buy things that are killing the planet because they are not thinking about the planet. People even consume things that shorten their own life span.


I think part of it is habit. Our parents used it/did it so we do too and don't think too much about the impact. Part of it is the busy lives we lead. It may pop into out heads that there is a better way to do something but we know we don't have the time to deal with another way. After all, much of the inventions that cause environmental problems were made to help the consumer save time. For example, do you really think there are going to be enough people switch back to cloth diapers to save the planet? I also think people assume that scientists are going to wave a magic wand and cure all of the things that ail our planet.


Sorry, my son had a bit of a growth spurt and needed some new clothes and a larger backpack for back to school time this year.

I do buy gently used, and am a fan of thrift store finds, but he's at the age where quality gently used clothing becomes more rare to find for boys. I had to break down and kill the planet so that he wouldn't head off to school in his skivvies - which I also killed the planet and bought new because some things should never be purchased used. If you do, then good for you!


Convenience is the main reason people buy things, and they never consider what any item does to the planet. I personally wouldn't mind mowing my yard with a reel mower, but my husband uses the riding lawn mower, because of the convenience of it and it gets it done in half the time..