Imagine a club where you get in, raise your query and get an answer from the thought leaders without worrying about “eye contact, what you’re wearing, or where you are”.
You can share your ideas, get an answer to your query while doing whatever – whether you’re folding laundry or commuting – and because there’s no typing and hitting send, all your intonation, inflection, and emotion should be accurately conveyed through voice.
What else can give you a dopamine rush then having interaction with terrific and renowned speakers of the industry on a saturday evening at the comfort of your home and pyjamas!!
200+ audience experienced a similar state of euphoria after attending an hour long interactive session on the topic, “Consumerism: Is More Always Better?” Organized by Vibrant Networking Sessions in association with Earth.org at Clubhouse Chat Room on June 19, 2021 under the leadership of:
Mr. Kunal Nandwani; Serial Entrepreneur, Investor and Co Founder of Earthr.org
Mr. Simarpreet Singh; Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia, Director at Hartek Group
Mr. Anshuman Arora ; Manager, Events and PR at Vibrant Advisory Services
The session started with the opening remarks of Mr. Kunal Nandwani, he took the effort and explained the audience consumerism, right from the core where it started. Consumerism is the by-product of the Capitalist economy which started after World War II some 7-8 decades ago. Few economists came together and convinced the whole world that economic growth is paramount and that’s the only reality in which our world does and can function.
Even after tremendous growth in the field of economy and finance, the most developed countries like the US believe that Economy should grow every year and they believe that it is the way the economy functions, people get jobs and they are happy.
“I personally challenge and I believe that it is a wrong assumption, economic growth every year is overrated and is at the cost of our planet’s sustainability”, quoted Mr. Kunal Nandwani.
He questioned the audience, does nature grow endlessly? Humans, who are the most complex product of nature stop growing after a certain limit, then how do we expect anything to grow endlessly.
“The problem is not lack of products, the problem is fair distribution / allocation of the resources”, added Mr. Kunal Nandwani. Right from money to the basic necessity, i.e. nutrition and water.
Audience was shocked to know that only 2% of the entire population owns over 90% of the world’s wealth. This made the audience realize that somewhere or the other the fundamentals of a growing economy is at fault and it’s not actually helping the vulnerables.
The panel brought some interesting facts for the audience and the audience was amazed to know that our addiction to economic growth has led to global debt of over $300 trillion, which we have clearly borrowed from our future generations just to satisfy our fantasies and obsession to grow.
But someone has to pay it back, obviously this is the burden of debt we are putting on the shoulders of our upcoming generation!!
Mr. Kunal Nandwani defined Consumerism as, “when we buy things we don’t need, from the money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t even like”.
This quote was an eye opener for all the genZ audience attending the session, who buy discounted products to show off especially on social media in order to receive some instant gratification.
The panelist very interestingly focused on the daily actions of the general public promoting consumerism, where they keep on buying clothes, gadgets and subscription of OTTs, hurting the sustainability.
Marketers play with our subconscious state of mind, where we wish to be above the rest, and as a result of it they sell absolutely useless, unsustainable and overrated products to the customers.
And rest everything is the result of Consumerism!!
Mind boggling opening words of Mr. Kunal Nandwani gave the entire session a new momentum and the audience actually started questioning how to get rid of this hunger to look and to seem the best.
His words made the audience think of all those things that they bought and they still enjoy having it.
Mr. Simarpreet Singh very interestingly brought the perspective of subjectivity and relativity in Consumerism. He clarified the intent of keeping question marks in the topic itself.
He very casually questioned the audience to check their refrigerator and tell how many things are in their kitchen which they don’t need, and bought them just out of the fear of missing out.
“8 out of 10 things in your refrigerator are the ones which u don’t actually need”, quoted Mr. Simarpreet Singh.
It’s scary to see how capitalism is attracting consumers, where one single action of Ronaldo gave a shocking downfall of 4 billion dollars to the Coke Company.
Companies and countries are running a race to change the behavioural action of the world, which is visible now.
Mr. Anshuman Arora highlighted the concept of Earth overshoot day, which marks the date when humanity has exhausted nature’s budget for the year. In 1971, it was on December 21.
And in the year 2021, it is on July 29, which means for the rest of the year, we are maintaining our ecological deficit by drawing down local resource stocks and accumulating carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Clearly, we are utilizing more than nature has to offer us.
He very interestingly raised the point that we all are at some point promoting consumerism, which needs to be checked. Alone Facebook had a turnover of 86 billion US dollars in the year 2020, and we all are very well aware that facebook has not earned this much by just making us aware of the products.
Mr. Anshuman Arora spoke about neuromarketing and how these marketers make us feel that we need absolutely everything we see on our screens and if we don’t have them we will not be happy.
The panel asked the genZ audience to come forward and switch to sustainability because they are ones who can drive this change.
Mr. Kunal Nandwani added the concept of Gross National Happiness parameter to the forum, and explained how some countries like Bhutan every year measure GNH instead of GDP, because they believe that more does not always add to happiness and satisfaction.
The reality is social media and influencers try to sell happiness and satisfaction via their products, which is the biggest flaw in the basic concept of happiness.
Panelists clarified that when we talk about being sustainable does not mean that we are not open to innovations or inventions. Technology has increased life expectancy and given us a much simpler life, there is always scope of improvement and growth sustainably and we should appreciate it.
They mentioned how capitalist economies, governments and companies along with few particular lobbies are not letting environmentally friendly innovations work. We are the first generation to witness the side effects and if these are not the signs for us that we are going wrong, nothing else can be.
While answering the audience queries , the panelist very beautifully imbibed the concept of morals and vedas where the teachings say that when we are born we are in debt of our parents, family and society, it is our duty to pay off that debt. We have evolved and our desires evolved more as power and less as responsibility and that is where consumerism started and led to where we are today.
This session was a call for all the audience to realize and understand what gives satisfaction and how we can lead a minimalist life, where we buy only what we need and don’t fall for any trap and connect with ourselves without the screens.
Hopefully you discover what you enjoy!!
You can find this interesting session on Earthr.org YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/9oKLUfBeEGk
Earthr.org is a crowdsourcing platform started in the year 2018, addressing all the sustainable issues at a larger level. It can be defined as Quora or Wikepedia meets Kickstarter, where different communities come together to discuss sustainable problems and solutions and entrepreneurs help them to scale it. Earthr.org is trying to solve sustainability challenges by encouraging entrepreneurs to work on such problems in a scalable new way.