The terribly self-destructive culture of consumerism and entitlement created by our primitive perceptions of instant pain and instant pleasure must be transformed to a culture of contribution and personal responsibility as soon as possible. We will not be able to enter the age of sustainable prosperity before that vital mindset shift has been completed. This, I think, is an indisputable fact.
Before the majority of people link more instant pleasure to that priceless feeling of being in perfect health, completely financially secure, and an honest asset to the world than the primitive pleasurable sensations of munching through a big bag of chips in front of an oversized TV (bought on credit) in an oversize house (mortgaged to the max), we will continue stumbling from one crisis to the next. Indeed, tempting 1 billion primitive brains with all the luxuries and perceived social protection brought by the amazing once-in-a-100-million-year gift of fossil fuel energy was never going to end well.
But we still have a chance to mend our ways through two important vehicles: evolving our perceptions and constructing intelligent micro-environments.
Evolving our perceptions
This vital step can only be achieved through widespread education. People have to become aware of just how much trouble our global society is in the moment, how we got to this point and what we can do to get ourselves out. In addition, people must become aware of the immense personal benefits of living a sustainable life and how easily this can be achieved.
This sounds very nice and all, but selling this message to a culture completely consumed by consumerism and entitlement will not be easy. Just like any educational endeavor, successfully accomplishing this task will require a carefully crafted, highly relevant message conveyed in a multimedia multisensory format by a unified team of respected authorities. The basic crux of this message is conveyed on a dedicated page and more details are available throughout this blog. The message is not complicated, but getting it to go mainstream will be quite a challenge.
In the end, the aim is simply to evolve our cultural mindset to the point where a culture of contribution and personal responsibility is perceived as more pleasurable than a culture of consumerism and entitlement. Only once this shift in perception is achieved will people be open to making any practical changes in their lives.
Constructing intelligent micro-environments
The practical lifestyle changes advocated throughout this blog are all centered on the concept of constructing intelligent micro-environments. This concept is discussed in more detail on another page, but the central idea is to simply tailor your living environment in such a way that happy, healthy, wealthy and sustainable living happens automatically. From my experience, this is the easiest, fastest and most holistic way of ensuring lasting positive behavioral change.
Once this process has gained sufficient momentum, the natural next step will be to start modifying our macro-environment – the typical city with all of its fossil-fueled cars, sedentary working environments and fast-food joints – to make sustainable living much more natural for everybody. One idea for getting this vital process started is the sustainable living information center described here. Once constructive changes in our macro-environment really start to gain momentum, the cultural shift from consumerism to sustainability will happen much more naturally.
So, that’s it. We simply need to get the world to understand the implications of the laws of thermodynamics and economic exchange on our future and make available all the tools required to build a truly sustainable global society while adhering to the law of human motivation. As simple as that. Simple, but not easy…
But keep in mind that sustainable living can be highly rewarding, very profitable and super-cool. Also, like so many other things in life, sustainable living has the potential to spiral upwards if we can only get it going. Let’s get this spiral started. Sustainability must go viral ASAP.