Stop Overconsumption During the Holidays

Photo Credit: Noam Galai, Getty Images

Photo Credit: Noam Galai, Getty Images

Grace Pherson, Writer

As soon as Thanksgiving is over and Black Friday begins, people begin to obsessively shop online, travel to malls, and attempt to buy the newest product before it’s too late. This kind of impulsive spending will have detrimental effects on the environment. 

Excess purchasing of material goods is speeding up the progression of climate change. The climate crisis in America is getting worse everyday: there has been an influx in droughts, severe fires, floods, a rise in sea levels, and a decline in biodiversity. To combat this issue, people must make their holiday purchases while being considerate of the effect they will have on the environment. 

These beliefs can be applied throughout the year as well. Being environmentally conscious shouldn’t be reserved for only the holidays. 


The Climate Clock 

In September of 2020, The Climate Clock was born. It combines art, science, and technology. The purpose of this clock is to express the critical time window that we have as a country to fix our climate issues. The Climate Clock prevents people from forgetting about the issues that we are faced with. On the date this article was written, the clock read 6 years and 218 days. The meaning behind this amount is simple: as a whole, we have 6 years and 218 days to limit Global Warming to 1.5oC, or 34.7oF. 

This holiday season, there will be a major influx in damage to the environment through consumerism. Here are some steps to take to combat this issue.  


Conscious Consumerism  

Conscious Consumerism is the act of making purchases that the consumer believes will have a positive social, economical and environmental impact. It encourages people to shop with sustainability in mind. There are many benefits in practicing conscious consumerism; reducing your environmental footprint, bettering your spending, and increasing the likelihood that those around you will begin to implement the same practices into their daily routines. Here is a list, created by Agood Company, outlining the best ways to practice conscious consumerism:


  • Reducing the amount of products you buy, maybe even try minimalism
  • When researching what products to buy, consider the environmental and social impact across it’s whole lifecycle. We know this can be tough and requires some extra effort, but the best brands make it easy and once you know, you know.
  • Before recycling, think if you can repurpose or reuse first
  • Try going vegetarian or vegan, at least some of the time, and buy local and organic food if possible
  • Walk, cycle or use public transport instead of driving
  • Switch to a renewable energy supplier
  • Cut out the single-use items
  • Purchase carbon offsets to reduce or cancel out your carbon footprint.

It is important to keep these things in mind when purchasing holiday gifts. 


Green Christmas 

Here are some gifts that can be purchased during the holiday season that are good for the planet. 


Amazon and Environmental Decay  

Photo Source: Fotopress/Picture AlliancePhoto

Amazon is definitely the easier alternative to making the trek into malls. However, if we want to save our environment, those trips to the stores are a necessity. 

Last year, Amazon’s carbon dioxide emissions grew by 18 percent from 2020 to 2021. These emissions are continually growing every year. Amazon has done many things to preserve their image and claim to be working towards “net-zero” emissions. To accomplish this, they will most likely be planting trees, protecting forests, or promoting clean energy. These concepts are good in theory, but if Amazon is not actively working to reduce their own emissions, then planting trees will do very little in the long run. 

Amazon also encourages the overconsumption of goods. With the ability to make many large purchases with the push of a button, it is incredibly hard to resist the temptation. Amazon makes many different dupes for previously expensive products. This allows the cycle of trends to move faster and faster. As soon as the product is no longer relevant, it will be discarded and people will move onto the next big thing.

Over the holidays, keep in mind that every purchase you make will impact the environment. Be conscious of the effects bad purchases can have. Do everything you can to consume consciously and sustainably. This is our only planet, and it is important to treat it well.

 Credit: Sebastian Gabsch/Geisler