US style consumerism is serving as an example of a completely unsustainable lifestyle that other people around the world see on television and wish to emulate. Worse yet, many consumer products are poorly made out of finite, non-renewable resources and then sent to landfills a short time later. Our material consumption is NOT bringing us happiness. Indeed, we wouldn’t even want much of the stuff that we buy if the advertising industry weren’t spending untold billions of dollars per year trying to convince us that we do.
Studies have shown that beyond a certain, baseline level of affluence, additional wealth doesn’t bring greater happiness. We must embrace the voluntary simplicity ethic and lifestyle. That should go hand-in-hand with poorer people elsewhere in the world finally enjoying the reasonable level of affluence that they’ve been deprived of for so long. Simplifying our lives along with the development of our consciousness can bring us vastly greater happiness with far less environmental cost than buying a bunch of stupid plastic crap that gets thrown away a short time later.