Consumption is directly linked with the environment. This means that the eating habits of individuals affect the environment. As such, people should be guided on what kind of foods to eat in order to ensure that the environment is less affected. People should not do away with their food choices, but more focus should be put on sustainable and non-sustainable food choices. As a result, people should focus on taking a balanced diet so as to save the planet of any impact. The nutrition experts maintain that people should consume foods such as vegetables and fruits (Telmer & Storesletten 2005). This consumption will help save and protect the people from the factors that are caused by the environment, genetics as well as previous bad eating habits. The consumption of such food choices will save the planet compared to consuming foods that are processed and meat.
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Processed food and meat consumption is rapidly increasing in the whole world due to changes in lifestyle and preferences. As such, the processes that are used to manufacture the foods release toxic waste to the environment (FAO 2011). Many organizations have focused in meeting the changing consumer needs and preferences by opening a considerable number of processing plants. When the companies release toxic wastes to the environment, it alters the normal climate cycle. This alteration in climate cycle has resulted to what is referred to as global warming. The connection between high consumption and poor climate is evident by the greenhouse effect (Bourne 2009). The planet has been damaged with the ozone layer being tattered (Bourne 2009). In addition, consumption of meat by individuals affects the climate in relation to the ecological system (FAO 2011). Overconsumption of meat will bring about an imbalance and, to some extent, extinction of a certain species in the environment (FAO 2011). As a matter of fact, biodiversity will be affected.
Overconsumption as well will affect bio-capacity. The capacity of areas that are biologically regarded as productive will decline. In addition, the ability of such areas to absorb waste will be lowered (Sunstein & Posner 2010). The available productive areas will fall short of generating resources for posterity. The future generations will lack the necessary resources, when consumption is high. The planet resources will be depleted, and as such, it will be less worth for inhabitation (Sunstein & Posner 2010). To meet human wants requires resources, therefore, as human consumption increases, the resources being utilized may experience high extraction rate as compared to its replenishing rate, and in most cases exhaustion is likely to occur
Though overconsumption translates to the acquisition of a lot of possessions, it falls short of generating the required or associated happiness. This is evident by the fact that even though most of the American people have a lot of possessions, they are still unhappy (Annie & Conrad 2010). The underlining reason is that instead of individuals having well times with their significant others; they spent a lot of time in their workplaces as well as watching television. Many people spent a lot of time at work in order to acquire items that they cannot utilize since they are held up at their work place. Overconsumption creates wealth meaning that it brings along a notion that happiness can be attained by having material wealth (Blundell & Pistaferri 2008). However, through happiness people emanate from doing well and giving as well as receiving affection. The replacements of individual values with material possessions have resulted in young children being brought up in daycare centers since both parents are engaged in employment (Guvenen 2009). The parents look for money to spend in other expenses such as house mortgage payment, car loan as well as higher education. The distortion of the family values is making most of the families unhappy, and more distracted from the environment as well as activities, happening in the world (Sunstein & Posner 2010). The main values that constitute happiness are family, wellbeing and health, but not greed and competition. Therefore, increased consumption through complex living will affects the environment in terms of resource exploitation.
Happiness of a nation is hinged on its level of environmental efficiency. As such, when a country is environmentally efficient, people are able to live a happy and long life. For instance, Costa Rica has the highest life satisfaction with that of UK, India, USA and China having their HPI (Happy Planet Index) decline for the last thirty years (Bloxham 2010). This is attributed to the fact that most of the unhappy nations consume resources at an alarming rate compared to their regeneration rate (Sunstein & Posner 2010). For instance, USA consumes thirty percent of the world resources, but they regenerate only five percent (Telmer & Storesletten 2000). The main focus of the unhappy nations is material items, hence, excluding simplistic living. As a result, it is clear that a high resource consumption level does translate to a healthy wellbeing. It means that environmental efficiency is the panacea to a healthy nation.
Resource consumption triggers inequalities among the people of a country with those, having the ability to acquire resources, accumulating more wealth (Krueger 2006; Heathcote & Storesletten 2005). On the other hand, the less fortunate will continue languishing in poverty. As such, a happy nation is characterized by equal distribution of resources, hence, avoiding conflicts (Krueger 2006). The inequality will be experienced by the coming generations since most of the resources will be exhausted. This means that they will have scarce resources to utilize in the satisfaction of their needs and wants. Most of the populace will not experience life satisfaction and expectancy since they lack the basic necessities such as education and health care (Bourne 2009). In addition, variation in culture among people of a country will also affect the HI (Happiness Index) of a nation (Bloxham 2010). This is because some people can be unhappy, when making a lot of money, rather than when they have little money. The culture aspect can hinder a nation from acquiring a certain happiness index (Bloxham 2010). Consumption that translates to wealth creation varies, depending on the culture of the people. Conservative cultures concern themselves with simplistic living that will save the resource of a nation, hence, promising a happy future survival and satisfaction (Bourne 2009).
Poor countries have a wealth of resources that are unexploited. As a result, they have shifted their focus to resource extraction in order to increase their consumption. This is evident by the increasing number of industries that engage in the production process (Bourne 2009). Most of the workers that take part in wealth creation perform their work in poor condition and they work for long hours (Guvenen 2009; Krueger 2006). In relation to this, workers strive to improve their quality of life in response to increase in consumption. Perhaps, the life satisfaction for workers in least developed countries will be farfetched; this is because they will have to work many hours and in unfavorable conditions in order to fend for the increasing consumption of its immediate family (Guvenen 2009). In addition, the happiness of the worker will be derived from the ability to provide for the family and family values. As mentioned earlier, simplistic living and family values are the main source of happiness. People in least developed nations are less focused on material items, but on the well-being of the present and future generations (Sunstein & Posner 2010). Efficient use of resources is directly linked with improved quality of life.
Overconsumption is a problem that will affect the environment due to high levels of pollution being sent into the atmosphere. In addition, it will lead to pollution of rivers as well as resource exploitation (Bourne 2009). The pollution of the environment will result from the use of toxic waste, agricultural burning, lack of emission controls, as well as coal burning (Bourne 2009). This will worsen due to the resulting increase in population size. The move to acquire a balanced quality of life among the rich and the poor nation in terms of economic situation will have a negative impact on the environment. Consumption entails extraction of resources, creation of products as well as production of pollution and waste. In total, consumption boosts environmental degradation. The world consumption with the wealthier nations, consuming more than the poor nations, results in over exploitation of resources. Even so, the poor nations will have to pay in terms of experiencing global warming and polluted environment due to increased consumption of the wealthy nations. The move to have material possessions as well as a healthy and happy life leaves the concerns about future generations unnoticed (Blundell & Pistaferri 2008). Other industries affect the environment in certain ways that include: waste capital, waste labor and use of many resources. The wasteful resources are costly to the environment since they are not efficiently utilized and transformed into products that are less toxic to the environment.
Consumption and environmental efficiency go hand in hand in determining happiness in a nation. However, for a country to prosper and attain life satisfaction, it is essential to have practices that are environmentally efficient. The future survival of a nation rests on how it utilizes its resources and the living habit of the populace. Competition and greed of industries are destructive and may hinder happiness acquisition by the populace. Furthermore, family values and simplistic living are the key ingredients of happiness. Material possessions only supplement a nations’ happiness. The HPI (Happy Planet Index) is based on the life expectancy and satisfaction of the people, living in a country.
The analysis recommends that individuals should change their ways. This will ensure that the society will survive in the coming years. This should be coupled with simplistic living that will create awareness and help in conservation of the country’s natural resources. As a result, people should reconsider their personal values and avoid doing as per what they see in the TV. The lifestyles of different people should be manned by what is environmentally efficient.
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