Think Bigger Picture on Consumption | The Bigger Picture


Think Bigger Picture | Discussions About Big Picture Issues That Really Matter
Poverty | The Bigger Picture
Consumption | The Bigger Picture
Corruption | The Bigger Picture
Energy Transition | The Bigger Picture
China & India | The Bigger Picture
Smog & Air Quality | The Bigger Picture
The Environment | Think Bigger Picture
Conflict | The Bigger Picture
Main Page | The Bigger Picture
Think Big Picture on the World | The Bigger Picture
Copyright 2014 Christopher Wicks | All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions | Contact Us
Discussion #13 - Consumption

Here are a few examples (total energy GJ/per year/per person):

United States - 301 | Afghanistan - 4 | United Kingdom - 137
China - 76 | Bangladesh - 9 | Japan - 164 | New Zealand - 175
Australia - 235 | Austria - 170 | Canada - 310 | Germany - 168
India - 24 | Qatar - 538 | Switzerland - 141 | Peru - 28

As you can see, climate does play a part, but the main driving force behind energy consumption is the wealth of the average citizen. The more we have (on average), the more we consume. The obvious exception is Europe. Many countries in Europe have been leading the way in renewable energy & conservation for a very long time! WE DO NOT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT ENERGY CONSUMPTION FOREVER! JUST UNTIL WE SWITCH OVER TO RENEWABLE. After that, if you want to spend your millions on energy, enjoy (guilt-free)! Go ahead & cruise the strip in a monster truck, it will no longer harm our environment.

The reason why the world is choosing not to lift all humans out of poverty (the #1 issue on earth), actually has nothing to do with money at all, there's plenty of money, it's mainly about consumption. While some may think this to be infinite, there is actually a human carrying capacity of earth, and it's in the neighborhood of 10 billion people (and this number is actually based only on food availability). If you factor in other forms of consumption, that number goes down.

Three of the first things that people begin doing, when their affluence begins to climb, is drive a car, use air conditioning, and eat meat. It's easy to see, that this number is much less than 10 billion if we were to lift all out of poverty, and we are currently sitting at 7.6 (and rising fast).

It's not all doom & gloom however, as there is a fairly simple solution. We need to take this limit, and work with it. Another key thing that people start doing when they become more affluent is begin using more birth control. This is, of course, the best way to cap the global population on earth. Then, we need to start maximizing the quality of life for everyone, not just the financial elite. This may seem overly simplistic, but the crazy thing is, it would not be tremendously difficult to pull this off. All it would take is a true belief in basic human equality, and a bit more worldwide organization. Since the world is globalizing anyway, this would actually be much easier to accomplish than most think.

All it would really take, is a global choice to do it, and the entire world would benefit economically, politically, and in every other conceivable way. There would be far less frustration, anxiety, stress, desperation, crime, suffering, and senseless premature death across the entire globe. It takes stepping back and looking at the really big picture, which puts things into focus and makes them simple and clear. The problems of world poverty and hunger were solvable eons ago, but the clarity of thought and political will were just never there. I'm not saying that we're all going to be flying around in our own private jet, but decent to amazing quality of life (depending on our ambition), for every last living soul on earth is not just doable, it's easily doable almost right away.

So, as you can see, this entire issue is not really about economics, but actually about the sustainability & attitudes of humanity on earth, and by far the biggest and most damaging form of consumption is the burning of fossil fuels. The major challenge is that it's not possible, even the way things are now, for us to survive much longer on earth if we choose to remain addicted to these forms of low-tech energy. We must turn up the volume on energy transition immediately, (way up).

The generations alive today are definitely (by far) the luckiest since humanity has begun. There has never before been a better time to be born and live a human life. Obviously things could also be much better, and it's my opinion that they will be, (much) better in the years to come. As consumers however, we need to pay far more attention to the limits that this planet has of supporting our collective activities. If we do not, then obviously the opposite will soon be our reality. Right now, it's all about elitism and ego. People use consumption partially to feel/appear important, and most are just not all that concerned (deep down inside), about the realities that don't seem to affect them directly (right away). It would be the single best thing that could happen to humanity, if the majority of us could get a much better handle on this. What trips people up, again, is that we would universally have to truly believe in human equality for any of this to really change.

There is indeed a certain form of satisfaction & excitement from pining away for (or possessing) the prestige of that private jet, yaught, mansion, sports car, or generally a big shot, flashy, high consumption life. There is, however, a much bigger sense of satisfaction from treating (& viewing) everyone as being equal in overall significance. The reason why is because this is in fact the reality, the other an illusion, and reality is always far more satisfying than fantasy. Also, in many cases, the stuff ends up owning you instead of the other way around. Many are discovering that the minimalist lifestyle is often far more freeing & enjoyable than being stuffed up to the gills.

The more you possess (& consume), the more things & property you have to babysit, protect and maintain. Then, when you factor in that absolutely none of this stuff is coming with us in the end, it seems pretty ridiculous to obsess over it all through life. Many extremely affluent areas of the world are, in fact, low consumption already. In much of Europe, for example, most people actually walk as a method of getting around town. Virtually no one in these areas is overweight, and the resulting health (& lifestyle) benefits are enormous. Our bodies were obviousy designed for far more productive physical activity, and far less consumption overall.

It makes me laugh when people say that we need to save the planet. Planet earth does not give a flying flip what we do. If we choose to destroy ourselves, the planet will go back to normal in no time.
It's us that needs saving.
Discussion #13 - Consumption

Here are a few examples (total energy GJ/per year/per person):

United States - 301 | Afghanistan - 4 | United Kingdom - 137
China - 76 | Bangladesh - 9 | Japan - 164 | New Zealand - 175
Australia - 235 | Austria - 170 | Canada - 310 | Germany - 168
India - 24 | Qatar - 538 | Switzerland - 141 | Peru - 28

As you can see, climate does play a part, but the main driving force behind energy consumption is the wealth of the average citizen. The more we have (on average), the more we consume. The obvious exception is Europe. Many countries in Europe have been leading the way in renewable energy & conservation for a very long time! WE DO NOT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT ENERGY CONSUMPTION FOREVER! JUST UNTIL WE SWITCH OVER TO RENEWABLE. After that, if you want to spend your millions on energy, enjoy (guilt-free)! Go ahead & cruise the strip in a monster truck, it will no longer harm our environment.

The reason why the world is choosing not to lift all humans out of poverty (the #1 issue on earth), actually has nothing to do with money at all, there's plenty of money, it's mainly about consumption. While some may think this to be infinite, there is actually a human carrying capacity of earth, and it's in the neighborhood of 10 billion people (and this number is actually based only on food availability). If you factor in other forms of consumption, that number goes down.

Three of the first things that people begin doing, when their affluence begins to climb, is drive a car, use air conditioning, and eat meat. It's easy to see, that this number is much less than 10 billion if we were to lift all out of poverty, and we are currently sitting at 7.6 (and rising fast).

It's not all doom & gloom however, as there is a fairly simple solution. We need to take this limit, and work with it. Another key thing that people start doing when they become more affluent is begin using more birth control. This is, of course, the best way to cap the global population on earth. Then, we need to start maximizing the quality of life for everyone, not just the financial elite. This may seem overly simplistic, but the crazy thing is, it would not be tremendously difficult to pull this off. All it would take is a true belief in basic human equality, and a bit more worldwide organization. Since the world is globalizing anyway, this would actually be much easier to accomplish than most think.

All it would really take, is a global choice to do it, and the entire world would benefit economically, politically, and in every other conceivable way. There would be far less frustration, anxiety, stress, desperation, crime, suffering, and senseless premature death across the entire globe. It takes stepping back and looking at the really big picture, which puts things into focus and makes them simple and clear. The problems of world poverty and hunger were solvable eons ago, but the clarity of thought and political will were just never there. I'm not saying that we're all going to be flying around in our own private jet, but decent to amazing quality of life (depending on our ambition), for every last living soul on earth is not just doable, it's easily doable almost right away.

So, as you can see, this entire issue is not really about economics, but actually about the sustainability & attitudes of humanity on earth, and by far the biggest and most damaging form of consumption is the burning of fossil fuels. The major challenge is that it's not possible, even the way things are now, for us to survive much longer on earth if we choose to remain addicted to these forms of low-tech energy. We must turn up the volume on energy transition immediately, (way up).

The generations alive today are definitely (by far) the luckiest since humanity has begun. There has never before been a better time to be born and live a human life. Obviously things could also be much better, and it's my opinion that they will be, (much) better in the years to come. As consumers however, we need to pay far more attention to the limits that this planet has of supporting our collective activities. If we do not, then obviously the opposite will soon be our reality. Right now, it's all about elitism and ego. People use consumption partially to feel/appear important, and most are just not all that concerned (deep down inside), about the realities that don't seem to affect them directly (right away). It would be the single best thing that could happen to humanity, if the majority of us could get a much better handle on this. What trips people up, again, is that we would universally have to truly believe in human equality for any of this to really change.

There is indeed a certain form of satisfaction & excitement from pining away for (or possessing) the prestige of that private jet, yaught, mansion, sports car, or generally a big shot, flashy, high consumption life. There is, however, a much bigger sense of satisfaction from treating (& viewing) everyone as being equal in overall significance. The reason why is because this is in fact the reality, the other an illusion, and reality is always far more satisfying than fantasy. Also, in many cases, the stuff ends up owning you instead of the other way around. Many are discovering that the minimalist lifestyle is often far more freeing & enjoyable than being stuffed up to the gills.

The more you possess (& consume), the more things & property you have to babysit, protect and maintain. Then, when you factor in that absolutely none of this stuff is coming with us in the end, it seems pretty ridiculous to obsess over it all through life. Many extremely affluent areas of the world are, in fact, low consumption already. In much of Europe, for example, most people actually walk as a method of getting around town. Virtually no one in these areas is overweight, and the resulting health (& lifestyle) benefits are enormous. Our bodies were obviousy designed for far more productive physical activity, and far less consumption overall.

It makes me laugh when people say that we need to save the planet. Planet earth does not give a flying flip what we do. If we choose to destroy ourselves, the planet will go back to normal in no time.
It's us that needs saving.