We live in a highly consumerist society, in which young people have been led to equate having more stuff with being successful as a person.
Advertising leads young people to feel that buying more and more will provide them with that elusive and unattainable sense of satisfaction. But far from providing the comfort they are seeking, relentless purchasing only creates short highs and fails to address their underlying need for a sense of self worth.
Consumerism is also fuelling the unsustainable use of resources; the products and food we consume take 60% more resources from the Earth than it can replenish each year. This “overshoot” is a major cause of:
- climate change
- mass extinction of animals
In fact, extraction and production processes account for about 50% of climate change impacts and 90% of biodiversity loss and water stress.
Calling out the forces that drive hyper-consumption and supporting low-consumption and high-wellbeing lifestyles is critical; both in combating climate change and in reversing a spiralling mental health crisis.
We want to expose the marketing techniques that are most harmful and support young people to refuse to be pawns of consumerism, instead fulfilling their emotional needs in ways that are truly healthy for them and the planet.
Global Action Plan is working with young people to challenge the pressure to consume, highlight examples of lower impact lifestyles, and set their own vision for what a happier, more sustainable future might look like.
We are equipping the carers of young people to help in the efforts to build greater resilience to our toxic culture of looks, likes and shopping. We will guide them in how to teach young people strategies for a genuinely happier life.
We will also enable and provide the forums for young people to demand a culture that is good for them and good for the planet and call out where they see exploitation and manipulation by marketeers.
We need to start a #realness movement – it’s time to get real.