From The Guardian:
Author JB MacKinnon… thinks we should, in reality, restructure society over several years to support a sustained reduction in the amount we consume.
He sees this as an obvious, if difficult, fix to a big problem. Consumption – of fast fashion, flights, Black Friday-discounted gadgets – has become the primary driver of ecological crisis. We are devouring the planet’s resources at a rate 1.7 times faster than it can regenerate. The US population is 60% larger than it was in 1970, but consumer spending is up 400% (adjusted for inflation) – and other rich nations, including the UK, aren’t much better.
“Many people would like to see the world consume fewer resources, yet we constantly avoid the most obvious means of achieving that,” says MacKinnon. “When people buy less stuff, you get immediate drops in emissions*, resource consumption and pollution, unlike anything we’ve achieved with green technology.” That’s not to mention the impact materialism has on our mental health, inducing feelings of inadequacy and envy, and encouraging a culture of overworking.
As somebody who is chronically lazy, unambitious and happy with the simple pleasures in life, that’s music to my ears. If I never have to get on an aeroplane, buy another car or call in a builder ever again, that will be quite soon enough.
Problem is, if everybody were like me, society would more or less grind to a halt (which is what The Guardian wants, of course). And I am aware that I am coasting on the efforts of others – I can only buy a cheap second hand car because some mug bought an expensive new car twenty years ago and upgraded a couple of years later.
* CO2 emissions themselves have little impact on anything of course. But for some reason people have become obsessed with this one metric and are ignoring all the really bad stuff we are doing to the environment.
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