It’s not an exaggeration to say that the fate of our species and the biosphere itself is in our hands. We must recognize all that’s at stake and take responsibility for it by doing all we can now in order to avert future catastrophes, many of which are already in the making, because in the case of our species long-term survival on a planet worth inhabiting it’s far better to be safe than sorry. Future technologies have the potential to save us from many things, however one thing technology can not save us from is our own ignorance and apathy because only we can do that. So it’s up to us to catalyze the shift from our wasteful society rooted in consumption-ism towards a more economical one rooted in contribution-ism in which personal success is measured in terms of contribution rather than in the ability to consume, and national/global success is measured in terms of the health and well-being of citizens, society, and the biosphere rather than GDP.
While working to increase our contribution and reduce our consumption along with the amount of waste we create on a daily basis it’s important to recognize that waste does nothing to improve our standard of living while doing much to lower it by depleting the resources and denigrating the environment our standard of living depends on. Our goal as consumers should be to know where everything we consume comes from, how it got to us, where it’s going after we’re done with it, and most importantly to ask ourselves whether or not we really need it and to take this knowledge into consideration before every purchase we make. The true cost of an item is rarely reflected in its price and more often than not cheap isn’t cheap and free is hardly ever free unless you’re referring to the products and services the biosphere is capable of providing us as long as we don’t ruin its ability to sustainably do so.
Those of us alive in the 21st century are living through what may turn out to be the most critical time in our species existence for centuries if not millenniums to come provided we are intelligent and fortunate enough to make it that far into the future. We face many difficult challenges in the years ahead such as alleviating extreme poverty and creating just and sustainable economic and agricultural systems all while working to protect biodiversity and mitigate the climate change and ecological decline we’ve already set into motion. Those of us alive today shoulder a great responsibility as our species stands at a crossroads with one road ending in a cliff of global conflict, famine, and disease; and the other stretching out as far as the universe itself. It is the direction in which most of us push and pull in over the coming years and decades that we will go so lets get to work.