I am nineteen years old. I am a student at an American university. I study computer science and digital arts, as well as anything else that fits into my schedule.
I consume a lot. I eat three meals a day, consuming the food. I eat three meals a day, consuming the energy to prepare them. I eat three meals a day, including the energy used to get them to me.
I consume a lot. I do my homework on paper, consuming the paper. I receive handouts on paper, consuming the paper. I read magazines on paper, consuming the paper.
I consume a lot. I try to consume less than many people. I am vegetarian: I do not consume meat. I take notes electronically: I use less paper. I am minimalist: I use fewer products. But I could consume less than this. I could be vegan and only eat locally grown food. I could use computers less, using less electricity. I could be ascetic, and own nothing. I don't think any of those are necessary.
Consumption is not all material. I consume a lot on my computer and on my tablet. I browse the Internet, and I consume what I read. I subscribe to the New York Times on my tablet and read it digitally. I buy ebooks and read them.
Not all consumption is bad. Consumption is necessary. Consumption leads to creation.
With what I consume, I also create. I write, creating intellectual goods. I draw, creating art. I program, creating software. Without consumption, what I write would never be read. What I draw would never be viewed. What I program would never be used. Consumption is a good thing.
Our society does not just consume: it over consumes. The cars we drive are too big, and we drive them too much. When we buy food, we buy food that has been produced far from ourselves and shipped there, not local food. We buy products in excessive packaging and ignore the waste. So few people ask themselves why.
Don't be one of those people. I'm not telling you to stop consuming. Just ask yourself, "Why am I consuming this?"