Fri 22 Nov, 2019 05:26 am
Human life on Earth should be sustainable for the climate as well as other resources. It should also be sustainable at the individual/family level so that people can live without fear of economic ruin and/or other calamities, such as terrorism and wars.
Industrialism and technology have enabled humans to increase economic productivity and expand the carrying capacity of the human population, but it has also enabled the emergence and sedimentation of various cultural practices that are unsustainable.
Because humans are competitive in seeking economic equality with others who seem to have it better in their eyes, many seek to expand industrial productivity to the levels required to provide everyone with the same economic privileges.
Such egalitarianism could be sustainable, provided those with the greatest privilege limited their lifestyles to only consuming and doing what is sustainable for every individual, but few people want to reduce their economic consumption to such low levels.
As a result, we are faced with the challenge of creating and marketing lifestyles that incentivize sustainability and expanded access to prosperity without forcing them. In the meantime, people still compete for resources and the power to live unsustainably, even at the expense of denying others access to even the most basic necessities that could enable them to live at sustainable, albeit modest, levels.
What are the industrial technologies and corresponding cultural choices, activities, lifestyles, work habits, etc. that will ultimately make human life on Earth both prosperous and sustainable? Can humans ever find happiness in such good choices, or will their always be competition, often destructive, for access to levels of privilege that are resistant to the kinds of reforms that are needed to make human life sustainable for an unlimited future?