Beavan’s reflection of materialism begins early in the novel. He describes how the wealthy are able to “distract ourselves with expensive toys and adventures” (8). In this passage, Beavan begins to build a base for his future fixation with the idea of materialism in society. This base began as an informative passage on how sea levels rising will cause the extinction of the polar bears, which concluded with man’s materialism being the culprit and tool of destruction. This passage essentially introduces the reader to question his or her own patterns of consumption, much like the following points.
The next strikingly important scene occurs with Beavan’s conflict over pizza following with his envy towards the man in the BMW. Beavan cannot bring himself to buy a slice of pizza simply because it is served on a paper plate. Soon, Beavan finds himself envying a man sitting in his BMW. Here the essence of materialism and consumption are captured indirectly. Sometimes consumption and materialism is not practiced to improve lives, but rather to sit in a luxury BMW “while pretty girls crossing the street turn to look” (61). Consumption is a necessary evil, the paper plate for instance is essential, practical, and convenient. The BMW on the other hand is a symbol of materialism and consumption for luxury. The man does not necessarily need the BMW, he can make do with a different, more economical car. Rather, the man drives the BMW for its status ...
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...ssions to see the importance of environmentalism. Beavan lays it out simply, “people are disgusted by us [the Beavan family]” (177). Too many people either care about worldly possessions too much or don 't have a leader to follow. “We have to change the culture” (176) to be able to change the way people live and consume. The idea of environmentalism must become a mainstream concept similarly to fashion and pop-culture trends. Fashion trends are able to grab the attention of many people worldwide and that what Beavan needs to attract others into his way of life and consumption. His ideas must become very mainstream and addictive to people similar to mindless pop-culture trends. If environmentalists are able to grab people’s attentions quickly and mindlessly, similarly to past trends like planking, the world’s problems may be solved very quickly and efficiently.
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