Many humans already feel it, is time to turn back. That it would be good for us and our earth if we consumed a little less. We humans in developed industrial nations live beyond our means, often at the expense of those in other parts of the world. But it is difficult for us to change our habits – where should we start?
Many do not believe that there is a human-induced climate change. But for no reason, we do not change our consumption habits. We humans are not predisposed to say of our own accord – I take less.
What why we do not believe in it. But just assume that there is a real danger of climate change. Would it not be easier to say that I use less because of care for our earth?
Our earth is destroyed because we are exploiting fossil fuels, raw materials and energy. We often live at the expense of our sisters and brothers in other parts of the world. Salvation can only be achieved if the unrestrained exploitation of resources is drastically reduced.
The blame for the depletion is the dominant economic system, which is geared exclusively to profit maximization. It is based on the free market, which responds to people’s demand with its offer. Due to globalization and the increasing flexibility of the industry, politics are less and less able to regulate it. You can tell from the extremely long deadlines for climate protection measures.
The facts show that despite the general knowledge about the impending global catastrophe and despite the clear signs (melting of the North Pole, deforestation of the rainforests, pollution of the seas with plastic), no change in the behavior of people in the developed industrialized countries can be seen.
In these states, a reward system has manifested itself. We continue to reward ourselves by buying things far beyond our basic material needs. Therefore, the demand for goods that consume natural resources remains stable and it is driven by advertising and increasingly short-lived products.
How does economy work?
Economy can be thought of as a big machine that runs on its own. The operating principle is the free market, which regulates the machine in a wonderful way. The faster the machine runs, the more natural resources and fossil fuels are consumed and the more waste is produced. Nobody can and should intervene in this machine. This is what politicians and entrepreneurs say. That is why it is also very difficult or even impossible to enforce climate protection measures.
But what is the machine powered by? The machine is driven by the demand of the people, thus by the consumption of the consumers. If people suddenly stopped buying, the machine would stop. There is no other drive for this machine than consumption.
If we consumers, we humans, run this machine more slowly by consuming less, it would be much better for our earth and thus for our future and the future of our children and descendants.
The machine „economy“ and the market don’t care if less is produced. The representatives of the market economy say it themselves that the market is flexible and ingeniously regulates itself.
Do not be afraid that the economy is shrinking. In the Christmas shopping season, the market compensates for short-term fluctuations in demand of more than 25%. A gradual decline will not bother the market at all. Trust the market. It really doesn’t matter if the economy shrinks.
If less is produced, then less work is needed. But it does not hurt to work less. As less goods is consumed, it does not matter to earn less because we will need less money. There is also a big advantage in this: people’s stress real decrease and there will be far fewer commuters, cars and therefore less traffic jams.
Increasing leisure time benefits civil society, which can then perform many tasks in society. Tasks that people feel called to and that they will voluntarily take on. Tasks they like to fulfill and for which they do not have to be sent through the job market.
Those whose profits are diminished will warn and threaten. But they, too, will be then able to enjoy the pleasant sides of civil society when they no longer have to bear the burden and responsibility of wealth.
How can I start?
Consumption is something so normal for us that it is very difficult to find a start. Perhaps the following consideration will help.
If people live beyond their means then they go into debt. We have become indebted to the earth and symbolically to our fellow human beings in continents with less consumption.
If someone is in debt, then he must think carefully about how he can reduce the debt. He needs to consider carefully about what he really needs to live without suffering.
Try to imagine, you are deeply in debt and you must try to get out of this debt. Therefore, only buy what you really need to live.
If we do that, money will be left over. You can save it, which is not very worthwhile at the moment. Or you can donate it to a charitable purpose. You can also invest it sustainably. Or you can take the remaining money and buy high-quality, organic food or clothing from sustainable production.