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This proposal was moved here from Shifting Attitudes and Behaviors 2018


Consumerism shapes public sentiment, public sentiment drives policy, policy can regulate corporations. Combat consumerism, change the world.



The information people ingest from social media dictates the beliefs of the masses. The "need" for an ever-increasing amount of energy is largely driven by the perception that consumerism = happiness/power. This perception is created through the messaging corporations create to support consumption as a lifestyle so they can increase their profits. As of 2015, corporations spent ~$221B in the US alone to ensure that this message overshadowed any other public sentiment as the main driver of happiness (1). To counteract this messaging, organizing groups such as the Climate Colab, Sierra Club, etc. to have their members create Facebook posts, Tweets, and general conversations with respect to an anti-consumerism lifestyle would help create a new norm of what being happy truly means. For maximum efficacy, this would have to be done in a time-released and controlled manner so as not to have the sources of the messaging be perceived as extremists to be ignored.

To approach the climate change issue, it is important to understand why humans need to consume energy. Energy consumption can be categorized into two generic categories: basic human needs (such as health care, shelter, food, etc.) and "extracurricular activities" (playing golf, traveling, eating at restaurants, etc.). Overconsumption of energy and materials can be found in both of these categories.

Many people eat more food, buy more clothes, and have a bigger house than they need, which they fill with many products that only collect dust. With respect to the extracurricular energy consumption category, most of these activities are associated with producing excessive waste (e.g. fuel consumed for travel, consumption of disposable products) and reducing the planet's net primary productivity (e.g. resorts and sports arenas displacing vegetation). In addition, there is a great deal of research which shows that happiness is often at odds with this overconsumption (2).

Category of the action

Changing public perceptions on climate change

What actions do you propose?

Who will take these actions?

Where will these actions be taken?

How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?

What are other key benefits?

What are the proposal’s costs?

Time line

Related proposals


1) "U.S. Advertising Industry - Statistics & Facts | Statista." 2016. 24 Sep. 2016 <>

2) "Consumption and Happiness: How do they relate? - MEG Freiburg ..." 2016. 24 Sep. 2016 <>