Future Voices: Consumerist young people are harming our environment

Are we buying too much? Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Are we buying too much? Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire - Credit: PA

We are constantly bombarded with advertisements online, on the television, and around our cities.

Often, modern day society is described as 'throw-away' - owing to our almost constant need to go out and purchase new items. This can mean anything from food, to clothing, to home appliances - and we're rarely informed about the impact our purchases have on the people who produce them or the environment - for good reason.

Along with covering up bad working conditions and pollution, many companies purposefully perpetuate our need to 'treat ourselves' to their products by targeting particular audiences, especially young people, whose minds are considered more 'malleable' and more open to persuasion than older people.

Of course, this isn't morally correct - but how else can capitalists line their pockets? Honesty and fair play?

This leads us to a question. We are a generation of consumers - but is it really our fault? Are these advertisements 'brainwashing' us into feeding consumerism?


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Many people agree that the number of advertisements targeting young people has a profound impact on our commercial choices, including Amy Walsgrove, a student from Reepham.

Asked whether society within Norfolk is focussed too much on surplus belongings, she said: 'In society today, we [as young people] feel like we have to buy anything that will make our lives easier.'

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And asked whether, as a generation, we're too concerned with purchasing items according to trends, she replied: 'Yes, some people think that to be 'popular' and 'in with the crowd' they have to buy specific things to get themselves noticed by 'cool' people - and to feel like they fit in.'

Trends are created in order to sell products. When these trends die out, we bin what we don't want and buy something else. This waste builds up over time, and is sent to landfill - just like the 350,000 tonnes of clothing binned every year in the UK.

Although young people are targeted frequently, we definitely have the common sense to realise what we want, what we need - and to determine what is important. However, with constant peer pressure to go out and buy according to trends, it can be difficult to say 'no'.

So - will consumerism-driven living die out in Norfolk?

Leave your comments and opinions below or tweet us @FutureVoicesNfk

Sarah Betts, 16, Reepham High School and College

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