I envision a future where present happiness and future sustainabilty are not at odds with each other. Our society tends to believe that protecting the environment must come at the cost of a good lifestyle. I don't think "sacrificing" these comforts and/or returning to an agricultural society is the goal. Rather, we must take the time to understand how to exist as a part of the environment, rather than as this dominating force that takes. We must evaluate our understanding of what makes us happy and what happiness is. Diamond rings make people happy because they are a symbol of love and commitment, and it's now tradition. But these are things we can change, if we do it together. If one person doesn't buy a diamond ring, they will be seen as inadequate. If thousands don't, then buying rings will be a dying tradition. That's the power we have. Our self-image and worth is so heavily dependent on what we have and lack. Those with money remind us of everything we don't have, and feelings of inadequacy rise, even if our lives are good, motivating us to search for money and things to buy at the cost of the environment. Shifting our priorities from excess to meaningfulness is what we need. Some of this is producer-driven. They want profits, so planned obsalescence occurs or exploitation. However, even their desire for profits would change, if we did not value hot tubs and indoor pools and extravagance as much. What if those who spend their money on excess were viewed differently, rather than revered - would we still want their lives? What we can do right now is repair things, understand the ephemeral nature of trends and dismiss them, and change our actions and even traditions to benefit the environment and ourselves (rather than either or). And... work together. Making these changes together is what will spark change. I already see it in all the posts here. We're all talking about the same thing and desire a very similar future, so we should take steps towards applying it, be it in reducing our daily consumption, striving for jobs that help the environment (or don't encourage consumption), or educating others about consumption and how to lead a meaningful life. Awareness of companies manipulating us to increase our consumption means we don't have to be victims to it, and we don't have to be perpetrators in the destruction of the environment.
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