Essay Title

Eco-commercialism: The Advocate of Green Commodities

Million years ago, our ancestors foraged wild plants and hunted wild animals. Everything was kept simple. However, as technology advances over centuries, humans have introduced an uncountable number of inventions into life, some of which, for example, plastic bags, may contribute to the destruction of the environment. This is a price we pay for the modern livelihood. 


In the past decades, we have seen plastic bags being used on a daily basis in supermarkets, fast food restaurants, and so on. In 2019, a law limiting the provision of plastic bags was established, plastic bags were widely replaced by recycled bags. Since then, everyone, including my family, started to bring their own bags, advocating for the protection of the environment.


In order to promote the use of plastic bags, businesses, especially chained convenience stores, have been introducing campaigns where customers can purchase products and collect stamps to trade prizes, including recycled bags. This recalled my memories during the Chinese New Year. I was tidying my house in a household of two and found over 20 recycling bags. Watching the stacks of unused bags, I question myself: what are the differences in using recycled bags if people just impulsively buy them? The irony that runs behind all these campaigns is businesses commercialising the idea of environmental protection. The amount of waste produced only to trade for a single recycle bag is immense. Besides, most recycled bags are made from cotton, and the production of the bags already emits a devastating amount of greenhouse gases. Hence, people are, in fact, inflicting more harm to nature through such kinds of consumption despite their intentions being completely opposite. 


The conservation of the environment has always been a topic under intense studies around the globe. In recent years, there has been debate regarding whether electric cars are the solution to climate change. Many people adopted an electric car very soon after its release. Sir Paul McCartney, a member of the famous rock band The Beatles, is an ecological rights supporter. However, in 2008, he purchased a hybrid electric car, a Lexus LS600H. This vehicle was transported by plane 7,000 miles from Japan to the UK. This journey created more than 14 tons of carbon dioxide. Sir Paul McCartney would need to drive approximately 36,000 miles to release an equivalent number of pollutants. This implies that simply his act of purchasing a hybrid electric car has emitted more pollutants than his driving a petrol car. In addition, according to Rowan Atkinson (2023), “Greenhouse gas emissions during production of an electric car are nearly 70% higher than manufacturing a petrol one.” This is a consequence of false advertising. People are greenwashed into the ideals of environmental protection without acknowledging that their consumption is detrimental to sustainable development. 


In modern society, we are surrounded by strategic marketing. The protection and conservation of nature have become commercialised gimmicks, no longer compatible with the initial purpose. People would easily fall into the deception of false advertisements; therefore, it is essential to recognise our beliefs regarding the green movement and support companies who put their words into action. Wise consumption can be done daily, from as small as a recycle bag to an automobile. These purchases not only affect the present but also the later generations’ development. Each individual holds the power to create a sustainable environment in the future. The decision is in our hands. To do or not to do, that is the question.



Guardian News and Media. (n.d.). I love electric vehicles – and was an early adopter. But increasingly I feel duped. The Guardian. 

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