Date of Award

Spring 4-30-2024

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Environmental Studies


John van Buren


The pattern of consumer overconsumption, fueled by relentless economic growth and the internal desire for material goods, has emerged as a prominent driver of environmental degradation, pushing our planet to collapse. This paper examines the cause-and-effect relationships between consumer behavior and its catastrophic environmental implications. By unraveling the root causes of overconsumption and its detrimental effects, this study attempts to underscore the urgency of immediate action to prevent irreversible environmental collapse. Chapter 1 will discuss the problem of consumer overconsumption, including an analysis of the detrimental environmental effects of our current consumption levels to highlight why the issue of consumer overconsumption needs to be addressed. Chapter 2 will explore the psychology of human behavior, namely, the mechanisms that cause us to purchase the way we do, explicitly highlighting the role of social media and marketing in driving consumer consumption patterns. Chapter 3 will examine obstacles within the current sustainable business movement in The United States, unpacking the privilege of sustainable living through issues of class and deceptive marketing practices in place, capitalizing on individuals' willingness to pay for environmentally focused products. The fourth chapter will implement environmental politics to analyze what various political players, including the government, environmental organizations, sustainable business organizations, and consumers, are doing about the problems outlined in the previous two chapters. Finally, Chapter 5 will probe what I believe is necessary to solve the issue of consumer overconsumption, including strong legislation for encouraging sustainable production and consumption, a circular economy system, implementing environmental regulations, taxes, subsidies, or incentives, and environmental education regarding the consequences of overconsumption. Urgent and collaborative efforts from the business industry, the government, and the everyday consumer are necessary to curb overconsumption and ensure our planet's preservation for many generations.