Everything that we use has an embedded energy in it accumulated during its manufacturing process. Take any simple product in hand and consider how many different elements it has. Many are made of combination of different materials like plastic, metal, organics etc... how much energy was used to extract, refine, transform and assemble the product? How much energy is used for packaging, marketing, shipping, retailing and all the peripheral activities? Just imagine what you do when you buy something you don't need just because you want it and can afford it. If you have 10 pair of shoes that you hardly use don't buy another just because you want it. This is a single planet and we have nowhere else to go and every time you consume something you can avoid you are making it less hospitable and more polluted with no actual real benefit even to yourself. Industry pushes us toward more consumption but we shall not fall for this. I'm running a sustainability consulting business in Australia and as part of my business I can see that the concept of embedded energy is being considered in more advanced sustainability schemes like the Green Star but more public awareness is needed in this specific area.