'The Story of Stuff' neatly explains how our entire economy increasingly boils down to one thing: consuming more stuff. From resource extraction to production, distribution and marketing, it all depends on consumption - buying stuff and discarding it to buy new stuff, through planned and perceived obsolescence - no matter how incredibly unsustainable this whole chain really is.
Though the film focuses on the US, where consumers have by far the largest footprint on earth, the principle certainly holds true in Europe as well (if only because it's the same corporations operating globally).
The alternative to this "linear system in crisis" is to make the system circular. This is where 'Cradle to Cradle' comes in, the manifesto of architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart. They propose closed production loops - ecosystems for the technosphere - with zero waste, as all materials are either biodegradable or reusable for 'upcycling'.
More on 'Cradle to Cradle' as soon as I've read the book. For now, see these two Backlight documentaries: 'Afval is Voedsel' ('Waste Equals Food') and its recent follow-up on Cradle to Cradle initiatives in the Netherlands.