When cheeky mountain climbers are asked about their motivation for their hikes, they retort that they climb mountains because the mountains are there--that simple. It has always appeared to me though that it is this same logic that undergirds people's inexcusable consumerism: Why do you buy that bag when you don't need it? It's there.
Butch Dalisay has just succumbed to the consumerist temptation when, as he writes here for the Philippine Star, he ditched his Palm Treo 650 for Sony Ericson M600i for no reason other than he somehow felt compelled to buy a new gadget. He was perfectly happy with the Treo but he just had to buy something new.
I like to think of myself as a relatively frugal person, but sometimes the power of advertising is just too much for us mere mortals to bear. I once bought a 3G phone even though I have no plans whatsoever to make a video call and was in fact perfectly happy with my clunky old phone. But, thank God, we are not the Americans who were exhorted by their president to fight terrorism by shopping more.
Reading Elizabeth Royte's Garbage Land, I was struck by this statistic offered by author and entrepreneur Paul Hawken: for every 100 pounds of product that's made--products that hit the store shelves--at least 3,200 pounds of waste are generated. Now, whenever I go to the mall or walk into a bookshop, I remember that.