Minimalism is not simply about having few possessions or vowing to consume less. It's first and foremost about realizing, being proud of, and cherishing the meaningful things you do have.
Countering Mass Consumption
The alternative and unfortunately popular method is that of mass consumption, or "compulsory consumption". A vicious circle of short term, semi satisfaction driven by rewarding one’s self with material goods from money earned doing undesirable work. The goal of life becomes consumption and the practice becomes second nature, or compulsory. We do it to justify doing unfulfilling, stressful, or relentlessly boring jobs that we hate. Materialism will never truly fill the void of satisfaction because the idea behind it is to constantly consume, which in today’s world has no end.
The mass consumption of material goods doesn't come without a cost. Each new gadget, toy, or tool requires immense amount of energy and resources to make. Extracting, creating, packaging, shipping, using and disposing all contribute to the pollution of the air, rivers, oceans, and lands that we need to survive. We take so much from the earth by living a materialistic lifestyle and often give little to nothing in return. Our earth only has so much to give, but our high rate of consumption has no end and demands far more than the earth has to offer.
Story of Stuff (Video)