The real cost of consumerism

As wealthy Americans, it is our duty to use our resources to create positive change in the world.

by Maggie Knox, Page Designer

It seems as if every week I am bringing money to school to pay for something new.

I have spent hundreds (who am I kidding, probably thousands) of dollars on technology, fees, trips, etc. while I have attended STA.

This constant economic cycle of consumerism has actually just distracted me from more important things.

Here’s just the question you wanted to be asked today: Have you ever thought about the people in third-world countries, living on less than a dollar a day?



In my Social Concerns class, I was exposed to a startling statistic: every single day, about 20,000 children in the world die from preventable causes like hunger, malnutrition, and dehydration.





By the time you’ve finished reading this article (I estimated 2.5 minutes), approximately 35 children will have died.

There is no reason for this number to be so high.

We, as wealthy Americans, have the power to make that number significantly smaller. Most of us at STA are Catholic, and it is a vital part of Catholic Social Teaching to not just “be charitable,” but to actually change the way the world works for the better. And even if you are not Catholic, I at least hope that your recognition of global poverty sparks a fire in your soul.

Why? Because you can instill positive change right where you are.

Yes, you can initiate a fantastic difference on a smaller level. By positively impacting someone’s life through solidarity, you will be making a priceless difference.

We have been blessed with modern technology; I can count the number of STA girls I know that don’t have a smartphone on one hand. We should be using this power to promote good in the world.

And while it may seem impossible to rid the world of its structure of poverty, it’s better to try to do something about it than just ignoring it.

It is a terrible truth that the world recognizes you with more dignity than your third-world counterparts. This is unacceptable, because I believe that all human beings are made equally and with dignity.

Keep in mind that we are not at fault for having money or being wealthy. We are even not at fault for wanting to buy a t-shirt or take prep classes for the ACT.

However, I believe that we will be at fault if we neglect those 20,000 children, along with the over 1.1 billion people in the world in poverty. We will be doing a great injustice to the world.

Creating change is as simple as it sounds: identify a problem, create a possible solution and use your resources to follow through with said solution.

Don’t wait until you retire to go do charity work. Don’t wait until you graduate college to begin a life of service. Don’t even wait until your junior year, when you take Social Concerns and start your Service Project, to recognize the need for compassionate solidarity.

One of STA’s core philosophies is “living neighbor to neighbor without distinction.”

Why would we ever neglect that?

Live neighbor to neighbor. Find ways to donate your excess money to charities that prevent those 20,000 children from dying. Educate those around you on the injustices of the world. Find a cause you are passionate about and help find a solution to the problem.

Imagine how happy you’d be if you were given a drink of water or a bite of food when you were dying of thirst. Imagine how happy you’d be if you were given an education in your village, where girls were never educated before.

Imagine how long $20 can go for someone who lives on $1 per day.

Imagine how happy you’d feel knowing you saved someone’s life.