Pascal Bruckner discusses a growing movement towards living a more basic lifestyle. People are disgusted with out frivolous consumerism and romanticize third world life. Bruckner argues for a balance. We can live in comfort, but without excess.
There is a disconnect between human welfare and our impact on the earth. The U.S. has the largest CO2 emission per capita in the world, but our average citizen’s happiness is declining. Our families are getting smaller, but our houses are getting bigger. This excess lifestyle that is harming the environment is not making us happier. Our throw-away culture is not sustainable for the planet, and our psyche.
I really like how Bruckner emphasized a BALANCE between basic, and utilizing technological advancements, because you know…. shit happens
It’s difficult to do environmental work when there are struggling people in poverty. Bruckner makes the argument that we need to have an inclusive approach at healing the planet. People are part of the environment.
Environmental issues are complex. Right and wrong are not always easy to identify. For example most poachers in Africa poach antelope in protected areas to keep their families from starving. Even poaching for rhino horn becomes complex when studied closely. Usually the poachers are pressured locals pressured by large companies. These companies threaten to kill their families if they don’t give them a horn. In addition, most people in South Africa have never seen a rhino. It would be difficult for them to revere something they have never experienced. What would you do if you had to choose between your family and a random animal you have never seen?
Jane Goodall is a good role model for an inclusive approach. While researching in Gombe national park she did community work and currently still has programs to help people in poverty. Even if for those who don’t want to be inclusive, (which we really should be inclusive) helping people better their situation allows them to afford to care about the environment. Helping them helps the environmental goal as well.
This book focuses a lot on fear in our society. Have we become brainwashed to our “doomed world?” Have we been acclimatized to indifference?
He also brings up how people fail to understand that science is an investment. People complain that funding goes towards research in green energy, with failing results. Research and the science process don’t find answers overnight. It’s an investment, and we might not receive returns for a while. That doesn’t mean that research is a waste of money though. We will find no sustainable energy alternatives if we don’t look for them.
Good research science is one that creates more questions than finding answers