Sustainability Doesn’t Wear Prada

Screen Shot 2014-01-30 at 10.42.03 AM
If only trees had Wi-Fi signals — we would plant so many trees we’d probably be more sustainable — too bad they only give us oxygen.

Qatar is a country of enormous wealth. We have the world’s highest GDP per capita, which means many locals and expats get paid per person more than anyone else in the world. Therefore, mass consumerism is prevalent in Qatar and may be more obvious here than in other countries.

What Fuels Mass Consumerism?

Mass consumerism is extensive spending on commercial products. Studies have shown that the more money we make the more we spend. This can be common in GCC countries where locals and expats alike are able to splurge a bit more than in other countries. Although something that is sometimes forgotten is that money does not last forever, and oil and gas are finite resources that will eventually cease to exist.

Land Cruiser Movement

A prime example of an environmental impact is mass consumerism and how it applies to the commercialism of cars. In Qatar undoubtedly the most popular car is the Toyota Land Cruiser, a car that is popular among locals and expats for the purpose off-roading activities. This vehicle boasts strong engine, but is also considered a ‘gas guzzler.’

This ‘land cruiser movement’ is a prime example of mass consumerism. In our current generation, individuality is slowing dying. We are becoming more and more uniformed, we drive the same cars, our cities look the same, we dine at the same restaurants and wear the same clothing. The effects of mass consumerism are unavoidable.

How the “Sheep Effect” Can Hurt Economies

Mass consumerism highly affects local economies. Most of the products which we buy now are products that are not locally produced. Examples of this are clothing lines such as Gucci, Prada, Versace, Zara, Pull and Bear. This means that only a small amount of the money that goes towards such goods are actually pumped back into the local economy. This is a very dangerous situation because Qatar in particular is highly dependant on its oil industry and if oil and gas products were to be replaced with an alternative option, its economy would be in danger. Qatar would no longer be able to rely on roughly fifteen percent of its industry.

We often associate environmental damage with throwing our waste in the wrong place or cars emitting carbons, but what we don’t realize is that many of our everyday actions have environmental impacts and if we continue it can lead to harsh consequences. Mass consumerism leads to a “sheep effect” which is often targeted to products that are not produced locally, therefore allowing for a bigger carbon footprint damaging our environment.

By Amin Ahmed
Photo By Aya El Husseini