Green Consumption Perspectives

Categories: Green solutions

Green consumption is known to be a form of practice that encourages the use of friendly environmental products that do not cause harm to the diversity and functions towards natural ecosystems. However, is green consumption an efficient way to help reduce human being’s carbon footprint or is it remaining the same by searching for resources to produce these eco-friendly products? In turn, from a perspective on Ecological Marxists and Ecological Modernization Theorists, they both address their views on green consumption based on their theories to solve environmental problems.

I think that society should not rely on green consumption because it requires humans to disrupt natural habitats to export these resources from the ground and needs to be addressed for government involvement in order to create change. Rather, I think society should be more cautious in the resources they already use and to make best use out of them by conserving and recycling smartly in order to save the environment.

Ecological Marxist Theory emphasizes the process of capitalism being ongoing and is expanding constantly.

The main goal behind it is to produce many products in order to make profit. Ecological Marxist Theory argues that capitalism is the main reason in causing destruction on nature by humans interfering with ecosystems. For example, Foster states that “Later Marxist theorists were to argue that, with the growth of monopoly capitalism and imperialism, the ‘focal point of inhuman conditions’ had shifted from the center to the periphery of the world system (Foster 2014: 48).” This supports that capitalism is an ongoing problem that will continue unless the issue is addressed.

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To sum it up, Foster writes, “For Marx, therefore, capital is self-expanding value, driven to ever larger levels of accumulation, knowing no bounds (Foster 2014: 43).”

One solution to help reduce the problem of capitalism is the Treadmill of Production. The Treadmill of Production is a theory that states an idea of humans relying on natures’ energy and having some sort of interaction with the world. The Treadmill of Production emphasizes that there should be a decrease on the amount of costs in production by competing with capital companies and produce new resources that are more equivalent in being more eco-friendly. Lastly, the development in creating new technologies such as making more efficient machines will save costs in labor and create new demands for consumers.

Another solution to reduce the problem of capitalism is the Metabolic Rift. The Metabolic Rift is based on Marx’s research in economic and philosophical issues between the relationship of humans and nature. The Metabolic Rift’s standpoint argues that capitalism is the causation destruction between humans and the earth. Capitalism is destroying ecosystems rapidly before they can replenish due to the amount of supply and demand. Capitalists’ main scheme is to cut costs in production by paying little as possible for raw materials and to sell it for a higher price. For example, Longo and Clausen write, “The absolute value of a commodity is, in itself, of no interest to the capitalist who produces it. All that interests him is the surplus-value presenting it, which can be realized by sale (Longo and Clausen 2014: 58). This supports that capitalistic companies only care about making profit from consumer demands and will continue unless restrictions are applied. In all, capitalism is a major issue that is creating problems for the environment’s well being.

Ecological Modernization Theory explains that capitalism is not the problem in ruining the environment. It argues that capitalism can save the environment. Furthermore, it can be a building block to reconstruct the environment. Advancements in technology will create new markets that will fix these issues. From this, many markets forces will enforce producers to meet supply and demand in eco-friendly products. Ecological Modernization theory also argues that non-governmental organizations should become more involved in creating solutions. These social movements will cause momentum in a change of lifestyle, resulting in people buying eco-friendly products. All in all, Ecological Modernization views capitalism as a way that will get markets and the government involved to help address issues and produce more environmental products to better society and the environment.

Ecological Modernization Theory’s stance on green consumption is that green technologies will benefit the environment in many ways. It argues that new green technologies will decrease the amount of damage in the environment. However, from new innovations it may lead to unintended ecological and social consequences. Vail argues that there are preventative solutions to help fix unintended consequences in the environment. For example, Vail writes, “For example, problems such as air and water pollution can be resolved through the application of science and technology to achieve cleaner operating processes that reduce emissions from vehicles and factories (Vail 2014: 78). This shows that there are ways to decrease the amount of pollution in the environment, but not entirely. It also shows that society can reduce environmental issues by making small changes until an effective solution is created. In addition, ecological modernization proposes to have market forces and economic actors to play a vital role in reforming as social carriers.

The critique on Ecological Modernization Theory’s stance on green consumption from an Ecological Marxist’s point of view is that green technologies do not save the environment, rather it makes it worse. Ecological Marxists argue that these products still require the same amount of exportation from the Earth. This will cause a big separation between humans and nature because humans are destroying natural habitats and wildlife just to meet supply and demand for consumers. Also, many question if new innovations in technology can provide a solution to conserve and improve the environment. On green consumption, many critics argue that ecological modernization main goal is to make profit by the amount of products they sell to consumers. From this, people consume more products and are driven to buy the newest eco-friendly products when they are on the market, so they feel they are helping the environment. However, Ecological Marxist theorists argue that people are not helping the environment by disposing their old products and buying the most up to date products. Ecological Marxist theorists perceive ecological modernization as a capitalistic organization who only care in making profit rather than finding alternative ways to reduce issues within the environment.

Ecological Theorists propose that individualization responsibility plays a major impact on the environment. Ecological Marxist theorists perceive that it is the individuals responsibility to take action in changing their bad habits and to conserve more. Individualization responsibility describes environmental degradation about the faults in people making poor consumer choices. Furthermore, on applying it to green consumption, it emphasizes that if people are taught to make smart choices in using reusable products, they would not be held accountable for environmental problems. For example, Lorenzen writes, “Despite the lure of the consumer economy, select individuals and social groups are able to forge new routines that reduce consumption. An individual doing their part to reduce consumption is an admirable project and tends to include other forms of political participation (Lorenzen 2014: 1072). This supports that people going green to save the environment is not enough because there needs to be a big social change that will cause bigger organizations to consider new strategies that will benefit society and the environment equally. However, people blame themselves rather than blaming the government or corporations for not taking action in making changes to help the environment. For example, Maniates writes, “When responsibility for environmental problems is individualized, there is little room to ponder institutions, the nature and exercise of political power, or ways of collectively changing the distribution of power and influence in society… (Maniates 2014: 346).” This shows that people want to provide a more eco-friendly impact, but they do not do their part. In addition, people worry about what products are the best reusable products, rather than thinking critically in using them effectively. Lastly, individualization responsibility main argument is to have people think as a consumer first and a citizen second.

Green consumption is a method to reduce waste that people use on a daily basis. I believe that making a change in consumption is only effective when the government is involved. In turn, people think that using reusable bags or riding their bikes are making a positive impact on the environment, but they are not. These types of acts seem to give people the idea they are eco-friendly, but is not going to stop other people from using a less efficient vehicle for transportation. People also need to make a stand towards the government in enforcing efficient ways for green consumption. All in all, I feel that it is up to the people to take action in changing their habits and be more aware at the problem at hand environmentally.

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Green Consumption Perspectives. (2021, Mar 05). Retrieved from

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