OPINION: Influencers promote destroying our planet with overconsumption

Companies’ advertising strategies have changed significantly in recent years. Instead of using commercials and billboards to promote their brands, they fall back on digital advertisements. Social media influencers have become more popular and now have a significant impact on people’s buying habits. 

We’ve all been there. Purchasing a product just because an influencer we like and trust recommended it, without even considering if it is actually good or if we need it. 

Oftentimes these purchases are driven by time-limited deals that create a sense of urgency to buy.

But here comes the problem: Many influencers promote a culture of instant gratification and impulse buying. This leads to overconsumption and a lack of consideration for the long-term consequences of the actions.  

Whenever influencers recommend a product, it often sells out immediately, which demonstrates that people make impulsive purchases of products that they don’t truly need. 

Followers are tempted to copy their favorite influencer’s excessive and materialistic lifestyle by purchasing the same things, even if it doesn’t make sense for their own life.

Impulse buying is terrible for sustainability. It is very wasteful behavior that harms both the environment and the customer by wasting money on items that often aren’t even used.

The majority of brands sponsored on social media are fast-fashion brands like Shein and Zara. Clothes are cheaply made, trendy and made to be worn only a few times, which is ideal for their younger audiences who feel the urge to keep up with every fashion trend for a low price.  

The bad quality of the items makes them break down and look worn out only after a few wears which creates a vicious cycle of impulsive buys and fast use of new items.

It’s also disastrous for the environment. Not only does overconsumption increase textile waste but the cheap materials used in this clothing, such as polyester and other synthetic materials, are not biodegradable, so they can take up to hundreds of years to decompose in the oceans. They also pollute water with plastic microfibers and dangerous chemicals.

Luckily, something good has resulted from all of this: De-influencing has lately been a popular trend on TikTok as Gen Z embraces sustainable lives and rejects capitalism and materialism. 

“Deinfluencing” is a trend where people try to do the opposite of influencers by persuading viewers not to make an unnecessary purchase. The goal is to reduce overconsumption and to remind one another that we don’t need material possessions to be valuable. 

Even if buying things provides us with a quick dopamine boost, it is not worth it, and we should all reconsider our buying habits. In times when climate change is an issue more pressing than ever, consuming unnecessary products that harm the environment and participating in a culture that encourages irresponsible overconsumption might cost us our earth one day.

Follow Lina on Twitter @linaleonax