Environment pleads for self-reflection

Air pollution decrease ImageWhat have we learnt so far this year? During the enforced absence from shopping for useless junk, worthless trinkets that make us feel less miserable, do we miss keeping-up-with-the-Joneses materialism, which we believe defines how people see us? When indiscriminate levellers appear, slicing through society, sending everything back to basics, is owning the latest gadget (time-bound due to its built-in planned-obsolescence) necessary?

The environment thinks not.

Instead of pollutants choking the planet for our unnecessary short-term material gain, can humanity mature and recognise what is truly important? Excessive, irrational consumerism devours natural resources and destabilises a fragile eco-balance. People complain about temporary stay-at-home orders in 2020 while disregarding the permanent situation our children and grandchildren might endure in 2050 because we ravaged the planet today.

If our current privations notify us about the future, do we hear the warning? Or will we choose gluttony over caution and recklessly abandon opportunity for a pleasant future? It might not be too late if thinkers realise our planet has reached its tolerance level, that this could be the last chance to reverse decades of abuse. Otherwise our apathy allows greed, profit and power to decide while we stand idly by.

Making a difference does matter, yet too many people urge fewer restrictions, rebooting the self-destructive production machines. An intolerable absence from junk reignites the inevitable decline towards an inhospitable future that our descendants will not relish. Consumerism should be kept in-balance, within former Stockholm Resilience Centre director Johan Rockström’s planetary boundaries framework.

Images: www.knmi.nl