1st Edition

Consumer Society and Ecological Crisis

By Leslie M. Meier Copyright 2023

    Consumer Society and Ecological Crisis advances a critique of consumer capitalism and its role in driving environmental degradation and climate crisis, placing a spotlight on how marketing and distribution activities help maintain unsustainable levels of consumption.

    Rather than focusing on the most visible sites of promotional communication, Meier examines less conspicuous facets of marketing and logistics in distinct chapters on plastic packaging, e-commerce, and sustainability pledges in the fossil fuel sector. These three main chapters each explore links between ecological crisis and consumer capitalism, drawing on critical theory and Marxist thought. The topics of consumer convenience, speed, and economic growth – and the role of fossil fuels as guarantor of these logics of consumer society – unite the critical analysis.

    Situated in the field of media and communication studies and adopting an interdisciplinary approach, this book will be of interest to academics, researchers, and students in the areas of media and communication studies, cultural studies, sociology, geography, philosophy, political science, and advertising.


    Introduction: Promoting Consumption

    1 Promoting Plastic: Short-lived Commodities, Long-term Waste

    2 E-commerce and Acceleration: Expediting Circulation, Normalising Fossil-Fuelled Convenience

    3 Promotional Promises: Fossil Fuel Corporations’ Sustainability ‘Ambitions’

    4 Overcoming Overconsumption: Closing Reflections and New Directions



    Leslie M. Meier is Lecturer in Media and Communication at the University of Leeds, UK.

    Consumer Society and Ecological Crisis offers a timely and insightful analysis of the problem of unsustainable consumption. Drawing critical attention to a range of ecologically destructive sectors, Leslie Meier sheds light on the significant roles of advertising, business practices, and logistics in perpetuating predatory consumer capitalism’. 

    Alice Mah, University of Warwick and author of Plastic Unlimited: How Corporations Are Fuelling the Ecological Crisis and What We Can Do About It

    ‘Meier has provided us with a sophisticated account of the perilous connection between the consumer society and ecological crisis. The book demonstrates in a compelling way how practices at the basis of the current form of capitalism keep us stuck in an environmentally damaging consumer way of life. An extremely important intervention as we face the biggest environmental emergency for humankind’.

    Benedetta Brevini, University of Sydney and author of Is AI Good for the Planet?