Solving the Climate Crisis by Changing the Culture

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

by Matthew Berger, SOLVE CLIMATE, January 12, 2009

consumerism Our actions on issues like climate change will not be enough to "rescue humanity from unacceptably hazardous environmental and climate risks" without a cultural transformation, the Worldwatch Institute says in its 2010 State of the World report.

In its report, the research organization tries to chart a path away from the consumerist culture that has arisen in the past 50 years and has been a major factor in the planet’s environmental and social problems.

Worldwatch President Christopher Flavin describes it as a "consumer culture that has taken hold, probably first in the U.S. and now in country after country over the past century, so that we can now talk about a global consumerist culture that has become a powerful force around the world." In this culture, people find meaning and contentment in what they consume. It’s an orientation that has had huge implications for society and the planet. The average American consumes more, in terms of mass, than he weighs, Worldwatch says. If everyone lived like this, the Earth could only sustain 1.4 billion people — about the population of China.

Flavin acknowledges that consumerism is not the only factor driving environmental degradation, but it is a root cause on which other factors build, and, as a cultural framework, it is expanding. "In India and China, for instance, the consumer culture of the U.S. and Western Europe is not only being replicated but being replicated on a much vaster scale," Flavin says. He notes that China is already the world leader in carbon dioxide emissions. [Read rest of story]

Tags: , , , ,

Post a Comment


Water: Our Most Precious Resource: by Marc Devilliers. This highly readable report on the looming global water crisis is amazingly informative on water issues around the world from China to Texas.