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A Change in Lifestyle Will Save the Planet

  • There is a worldwide crisis coming but it's not about climate change. How many people on their deathbed say "I wish i had worked harder, been promoted to a higher position and made more money"? Very few. How many people on their deathbed say "I wish i had worked less and cared less about my job, but traveled more, read more books, and spent more time with friends and family"? Too many.
  • The economic boom of the West in the 1960s triggered an existential movement against the work-driven ethics.
  • The economic boom of the developing world in the new century will trigger a similar movement all over the world.
  • One reason for that movement in the West was a new awareness of the damage to the environment caused by your work: your driving to work, your producing something that needs to be manufactured in concrete buildings and transported on paved roads, your buying unnecessary goods with your salary that fuel this loop over and over again.
  • The damage caused to the planet by the developing world (whose main advantage over the developed world used to be a cleaner environment) is accelerating and will cause a reaction of equal magnitude all over the world.
  • The political and economic establishment wants people to think in terms of GDP growth, return on investment, salary, stock options and so forth. However, each of these things often depends on personal, collective and even planetary tragedies. For example: cars contribute to GDP, but they also contribute to car crashes that kill people (sometimes pedestrians); factories contribute to GDP, but they also cause workers' alienation and environmental pollution; mines contribute to GDP but also cause premature deaths; dams contribute to GDP but also cause the displacement of entire towns; and so forth.
  • Every penny you make from your salary and your stock "costs" something in happiness. Whether it contributes to your happiness is an opinion, but that it costs something in your or someone else's happiness is a fact.
  • This is, ultimately, what may save the planet: as people all over the world work harder, this will generate individual unhappiness that will translate into a rejection of the work-oriented lifestyle and embracement a leisure-oriented lifestyle, which will translate into lower consumption, slower exploitation of natural resources and smaller damage to the environment.
Proof-edited by Alexander Altaras